How To Build A Porch Swing

Today I’m going to walk you through how I built my first port swing using these plans from Woodcraft, and here is the link.

These plans were great. They were easy to follow the cut list was excellent, and they even had some samples that you can cut out and use so that you can get certain boards cut with the correct angles.

Now, the one downside is, these plans are for a four foot long bench, and they specifically say not to change the size of that bench. That’s just to make sure that you’re making your bench strong enough.

Now, I did just that and I decided to change mine so mine is modified to six feet long and the seat depth is 24 inches deep.

So I’ll walk you through how I made mine strong enough so that will hold the bench and more people sitting on it. So to start off, I went to Home Depot and I picked up cedar two by fours. And I cut it to length.

I also labelled all of the boards so that I make sure to get the correct boards in the right spot.  I started with the assembly of the armrests, and I found it easiest to lay it out first, just to make sure I had the correct boards in the right spots.

I used the drill press for countersinks however you could easily use a regular drill. You’ll see we used to square the whole project just to make sure everything was lined up correctly. The last thing I wanted was a crooked swing.

Now the plan calls for two inch and three inch screws. However, since my swing is a little larger I used exterior two and a half inch and three inch screws.

I use Titebond 3 since its waterproof and this swing was going to be outdoors.

The plans recommend using cedar, mahogany, teak or Douglas fir. So if you wanted to save some money for might be a better choice. I chose to go with cedar since it was going to hold up pretty well for an outdoor swing.

Apparently I can’t read directions and should have cut the curve in the bottom boards. Before putting together the armrests. The plants have a template to cut this out. However, since my swing is larger I had to just kind of wing it.

I used the bandsaw that a jigsaw would work just fine. To get around edge on the armrests; I used a bolt for the template.

So the plans called for one by four boards in the slots of the back. However, I chose to use two by fours instead, just to give it a more uniform to look.

So I used a doweling jig to drill the holes here. Now you’ll actually see me using two doweling jigs, I dropped the one that I originally bought from Rockler, so I bought this one from Home Depot, to give it a try.

It also had something that was kind of cool to use where you drill the holes. Then you put in, these bits that have a point on them and you’re supposed to drill it into the woods, so that you see exactly where to drill your holes.

I was not a fan, you could barely see where the marks were. I also didn’t like that I had to reposition the jig. Every time I wanted to drill my second hole. It was frustrating and irritating to use it. Also, wasn’t self-centring, so you can see that on the two by four. It’s off on every single one it’s not right in the center.

So you actually see me go back to using my Rockler jig. And I actually just customized it so that it would work for the two by fours.

This was seriously the toughest part of the whole project, just trying to line up all those holes and get it in place and straight.

So what I did off camera was things were getting a little overwhelming down there on the floor I just could not seem to get these tight enough to really pull it together, and the glue was drying rather quickly so I just off camera, I took this up here and brought it up to my workbench.

And I took the clamps and just really clamped it down as tight as I could get it there was still quite a bit of a gap. And this one edge started to almost come up. So what I did was I took clamps and I’ve clamped it down, which actually helped. I believe just making it; line up better with the holes. And then I used a wood mallet. And I just banged against this side.

When these sides were held tight against here. I just banged against it, and it sealed everything up really nice and tight, the glue is dry. The only thing I’m a little concerned about that we’ll find out is there was glue going everywhere, so I’m not sure if it’s going to be stuck to my workbench. So, let’s check it out.

Alright so we’re in good shape. It’s not stuck to the workbench. And it held tight, it’s solid. The edge of the back was not quite straight. So it took it over to the miter saw to clean up. And yes, I’m the dark, climbing on the shop floor because I’m out of room to work in here.

Kidding the countersink strip was no picnic. Here’s some behind the scenes footage of just what you do and one woman shop, get her done. I found the best way to keep things lined up Square was to clamp the boards to the workbench while attaching.

Since I was unable to use the drill press here, I created a jig with a two by four strap, just to make sure I was drilling straight.

I use tape on my bed to get the depth correct.

To make the bench stronger. I put in an extra support on the bottom. Rather than buying plugs, I used to plug cutter and cut them from scrap cedar I had, off camera I use wood glue and a rubber mallet to fill the holes with wood plug then once it was dry I used a flush cut saw to trim off the excess. To better line up the one by four seat boards. I used quarter inch wood strips. I notched out the first board to fit the armrest.

I used brads and a nailer to attach the seat slots, just to give it a cleaner look.

The last board I cut to fit exactly. I drilled holes for the hanging hardware. I use wood filler and all holes unsanded.

So you’ll want to make sure to read drill, those hardware holes after you paint. I didn’t do that in the beginning, and I accidentally chipped out some of the wood pretty badly so you’ll just want to make sure to do that. For the hardware I use stainless steel three eighth inch, although the plans called for five 16th inch. I chose to use something a little bit thicker, just because it would be holding more weight on the bench, to help things hold, I used Loctite.

I had my client install the ceiling hooks, for the chain I used galvanized rated at 1250 pounds, little overkill, but I wanted to make sure that it would be strong enough. I will need to cut the extra chain off but I left it for right now, just to make sure that my client likes the height and doesn’t want to adjust it.

Kevin Nelson

I will always have a special place in my heart for woodworking. I have such fond memories working on projects with my parents on the weekends in the garage growing up. We built tables, shelves, a backyard shed, 10' base for a water slide into the pool, 2 story fort playhouse with a fire pole, and so much more. This woodworking blog allows me to write helpful articles so others can enjoy woodworking as much as we have.

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