How to Build and Hang a Porch Swing
Get yourself the best seat not in the house, and enjoy it all summer long
Nobody says you have to build your own porch swing. You could buy one, as easy as icebox pie.
Why not make it yourself? Because if ever a task offered its own reward, this one does, implying libertine leisure even as it demands intense rigor. Were you crafty enough, you could start from scratch—the dimensions measured twice and cut once, the mortise made just so, the tenon to match, the flathead brass screws micrometrically countersunk, the curve of a seat rail defined by pencil, formed by saw, and completed with drawknife and plane.
Let's say you're insufficiently crafty. But let's also say you're willing to hit the halfway mark between scratch-built and store-bought. Do an online search for "porch swing" and "kit," and marvel at the results: big, little, medium, freestanding, chain-mounted, oak, cedar, redwood, teak, Arts and Crafts, Mission, Adirondack, plantation.
The box arrives, and with it so does a bout of jitters. But keep at it. You'll get your groove, tools, and user melding in an almost musical pattern, a melody of accomplishment riding the rhythm of repetition—screwgun whir, mallet strike, sandpaper scritch, clamp creak—and finally silence, settling over what began as a notion and now has three dimensions.
Ready, Set, Swing
For this building project, we selected a 5-foot-long swing made from stout planks of solid teak, milled into elegant, comfortable curves as lovely to admire as they are inviting to the touch. No cutting is needed, so assembly takes only a few hours. And the effort is doubly repaid: in savings (this swing costs hundreds of dollars less than one put together in a factory) and in satisfaction. You've created an heirloom you can proudly say you built yourself.
Before tackling final assembly, first "dry-fit" all of the pieces without glue. This will be time well spent. You'll know in advance if the kit has all of its parts; you can sand down any tenon that isn't sliding into its mortise; and you'll lessen the chance of making a mistake that's harder to correct later.