HOW TO BUILD PORCH SWING STEP BY STEP
HOW TO BUILD PORCH SWING STEP BY STEP. Image: virginiasweetpea.com

HOW TO MAKE A PORCH SWING: STEPS AND TIPS

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Your last visit to a relative house makes you fall even deeper to porch swing. You really want to have one for your house. After checking the price and add the installation cost, you realize that your saving is not enough. Does it mean that you should give up on porch swing? Absolutely not! You could still built one yourself. Check the steps and see how easy it is!

1. Measure Your Swing

Before you get your hands dirty, you should make plan for the swing porch. To be specific, you have to decide the dimension of the final product. It will be a great help if you could make sketch. The visualization could guide you to make smaller scale. There are no golden rules, since you are making furniture for your personal use.

Make sure you draw clearly how many wood pieces for the back, the seat and the arm rest. You should always write the measurement as well. Mark the spot you will drill for the screws later on. Then, you can start working to make the pieces. If you plan to paint or apply wood finishing, do it after the pieces are ready.

Don’t forget to do a “dry fit” session; your measurement might miss and the pieces cannot be assembled. In this case, you need to find the miscalculated piece and make the new one. If the pieces cannot slide into the mortise, then sand it. 

PORCH SWING MEASURE

2. Connect the Tenon

What should you do after the pieces are done? No, you are not going directly to assembly steps. This is the big mistakes that could ruin the whole project. You should connect the pieces which have tenon and mortise first. Some DIY projects only use tenon-mortise, while some others combine it with screws.




For tenon and mortise, it is recommended to use waterproof polyvinyl acetate (PVA) product. You should apply the glue on both the tenon and inside the mortise. This trick will make the joint connection stronger. You might also have different instruction on tenon-mortise where the project uses screw as well. You won’t need glue, but you must drill the wood and attach screw to hold the pieces together.

3. Assemble the Swing Parts

Now, you will assemble the wood and several connected parts. The final result of this step is the porch. Make sure to follow the steps carefully. First, start by pre-drill the spots for screw. This trick will reduce the possibility to have crack on the material. Do the predrill to all of your pieces.  Then, bring over your sketched plan and the screws.

The part you should assemble first is the porch back. If you want to make high seat, it is better to work on flat surface. Put the vertical pieces at both sides. The horizontal pieces could be attached by using glue or screws. Let the glue dries for several minutes, then set aside.

Next part you should assemble is the bottom rail. This is the part where the cushion will be placed. To prevent any misplaced pieces, many lumbers connect the bottom rail frame to the back seat first. Then, they arrange the slats to the place. To tighten and locked them up in place, a bar clamp is needed. The clamp is set on both ends.




Check the back seat and bottom rail. Make sure the glue and screws are strongly grabbing the pieces. Try to move the assembling. There should be no pieces dragged slower. They move as one unit, even though the arms are not yet attached.

Bring over the arms and attach them to the place. Again, you will need both glue and screws. When you finish attaching the arms, make sure there is no gap in the connecting point of the back seat, bottom rail and the arms. After that, you should cover the drill gap by dabbing tiny drop of glue, just enough to cover the hole and make the surface even.

HOW TO MAKE PORCH SWING AND TIPS

4. Install Swing Support

When you purchase your material, don’t forget to stop and buy porch swing hardware. Depending on the model you make, you might need more items. The standard kits you should have are brass bolt, brass bolt nuts, rope or chain, swing hanger, swing spring and sandpaper. This is the basic and you mustn’t miss a single thing.

Remember how you assemble the wood pieces? You apply glue to the joint. This trick will be repeated again in the support installation. You need to set the supports on the porch first. There are four spots; on both ends of the bottom rail and on both sides of the back rest. You need to pre-drill the wood surface. Before you push the brass bolt into the hole, coat the surface with glue. Lead the brass bolt to the nut.

HOW TO INSTALL PORCH SWING SUPPORT BOLTS AND FILL SCREW HOLES
Photo by Jim Franco via thisoldhouse.com

5. Attach Hardware

Next, you must attach the porch swing hanger to the ceiling. Repeat the pre-drill and glue steps. Attach the spring only after the hanger is properly installed. If you use rope, tie the rope to the hook on the spring and the porch support. Make sure you use the proper knot. It will be simpler if you use chain; hook the chain eye to the spring and the support.

You might have to choose between two or four swing hooks on the ceiling. While installing two saves more time, your porch swing will be sturdier with four supporting spots. It is recommended to use 5 ½ inches long eye screw with ½ inches thickness for ceiling installation.




What if the porch has no ceiling? Don’t worry, you could still have your swing. Without a ceiling, you will have the joist. It might take a while, but you need to drill all the way out. Make sure to bring your long heavy-duty drill. Push the screw through the joist, put on the washers and tighten the lock nut.

6. Adjust the Position

You are almost done! The last step to do is adjusting the position. If the swing will be used by adults, make sure the gap from the floor still allow both feet to touch the ground in sitting position. You could also make the swing tilts to the back for more comfortable experience.

HOW TO MAKE PORCH SWING HANGING

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