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How to make a Porch Swing

Copyright © 2003 Buildeazy.Com Ltd. All rights reserved
These and other plans in this site are the property of

The Porch Swing.
This seat has an adjustable lean back angle to give varying degrees of comfort depending on whether or not you want to sit up straight or lie back a little.
As with other Buildeazy projects, it designed with the home handyman or DIYer in mind. All joins are secured with bolts and/or screws and nails. Because of this, the project only requires the most basic of tools to undertake a professional job.

A bit about the timber.
All dimensions are in both millimetres and inches. The inch dimensions are in brackets ( ).

There are two different types of timber used for this project. 90 x 35 (1-1/2" x 3-3/4") treated pine for the frame and 90 x 20 (3/4" x 3-3/4") hardwood for the seat slats and back slats. Also a small amount of 145 x 20 (3/4 x 5-3/4) treated pine for the arm rest.
The timbers (with the exception of the two arm rests) are commonly used for decking and readily available. If the sizes vary in your area, just make allowances accordingly.

The 45 x 35 (1-1/2" x 1-3/4") pieces required are from 90 x 35 (1-1/2" x 3-3/4") stock ripped (sawn down lengthwise) in half.
Any other smaller members that are required can also be cut from standard stock.

As well as the timber in the list below, you will also need...
  • Two 3600mm (12ft) lengths of galvanized chain
  • 10 galvanized coach (carriage) bolts 10mm (3/8") x 120mm (5") long.
  • A hand full of 100mm (4") nails.
  • A few 75mm (3") nails to hold the two end frame members together while drilling and bolting.
  • 92 wood screws approx 35mm (1-1/2") long for the seat slats, back slats and arm rests.

  • The cutting list
    All dimensions are in both millimetres and (inches)

    Make up the two end frames.
    Cut the members (a), (b), (d), (e), (f), (h), and (i) to the dimensions as shown in the timber list in the previous page.
    Make up the two end frames using the drawings below as a guide. Note that the inner seat frame ends (b) are a different width than the outer seat frame ends (a) by 20mm (3/4") which is the thickness of the seat slats.
    First nail and then bolt the horizontal members (a), (b), (f) to the vertical members (d) and (e) with 10mm (3/8") coach (carriage) bolts. The spacers (h) and (i) can be fixed with screws.

    Make up the seat frame.
    Cut the members (c) and (j) to the dimensions as shown in the timber list in the previous page.
    Nail the front and rear seat frame members(j) to the seat frame end members (a) and (b). Nail in place the two seat frame intermediate members (c) ensuring that they are 20mm (3/4") below the top edge of the front and rear seat frame members (j).

    The back slat support.
    Cut member (k) to the dimension as shown in the timber list in the previous page.
    Round each end. You can use a dinner plate, paint tin or any other circular object as a template to draw a curve.
    Bolt the back slat support (k) to the two rear vertical arm supports (e).

    Fix the seat slats in place.
    Place the seat slats in place spread evenly within the seat frame. Members (n) and (m) will need to be checked (cut) out at each end to allow for the chain cavity and vertical arm supports (d) and (e). (see diagram).
    Screw the seat slats to the seat frame members (b) and (c). Pre-drill screw holes in the slats slightly bigger that the screw shank.

    Fix the back slats in place and mark for cutting.

      Temporary nail a straight edge to the bottom half of the rear seat frame (j) so the back slats will have something to sit on while they are being fixed in place. Spread the back slats (p) out evenly between the two end frames and fix to the back slat support (k) and the rear seat frame member (j) with screws. Pre-drill screw holes first through the back slats.
    When the back slats are fixed in place, you can draw a pattern of choice at the top of the back slats and cut with a jig-saw if the pattern has curved lines or a handsaw will do if the pattern only consists of straight lines.

    Fit the arm rest.
    Cut the arm rest (g) to fit around the rear vertical arm support (e) and fix with screws to the hoizontal arm supports (f).
    Make holes in the appropriate places for the chain cavities.

    Thread the chain.
    Thread the chain through the holes in the arm rests down through the cavities at the bottom of the end frames and back up.
    The holes and cavities should be big enough so that the chain can be pulled through freely.
    When the seat is held of the ground by the chains (more about that next page), the seat angle can be easily adjusted and locked in place by inserting a "chain stop" through one of the chain link holes just above the front arm rest (g) hole. A "chain stop" can be a small bolt, piece of rod or anything that can fit through a chain link hole and stop the chain from slipping around the end frames.
    When you want to re-adjust the seat angle, simply take out the "chain stop", adjust the angle and lock in place again by putting the "chain stop" back.

    Supporting the swing.
    Hang the swing so the seat is approx 400 (16") off the ground. The builder is responsible to ensure that swing is supported adequately to take the weight of the swing as well as the people that might occupy it.
    Have fun!

    Author: Les Kenny

    Copyright © 2001 Buildeazy.Com Ltd. All rights reserved