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Build a Swing Bench

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A swing bench is just the thing for lounging around on while you read your favourite gardening magazine.

After a shopping trip to Builders, construct this swing chair in stages, first make the basic frame, then attach the sides, seat, back and, finally, the armrests. You could hang the swing from a huge tree with accommodating branches, or from an A-frame made of poles, as we did.

Materials for Your Swing Bench

  • SA Pine, cut as follows (all in mm)
  • 4 x long frame pieces: 606 X 50 x 44 mm
  • 4 x short frame pieces: 480 x 50 x 44 mm
  • 4 x crosspieces: 1364 x 50 x 44 mm
  • 2 x side stops: 480 x 20 x 20 mm
  • 12 x slats – sides: 380 x 94 x 20 mm
  • 12 x slats – seat: 630 x 94 x 20 mm
  • 12 x slats – backrest: 700 x 94 x 20 mm
  • 1 x long fascia board: 1274 x 94 x 20 mm
  • 2 short fascia boards: 480 x 94 x 20 mm
  • 1 x back brace: 1274 x 20 x 44 mm
  • 2 x arm rests: 770 x 140 x 20 mm
  • full thread cut screws (4 x 30mm)
  • rope: width 22 mm
  • wood primer (pink)
  • Dulux Pearlglow (Amethyst Showers)

Tools

Drill and countersinking drill bit, table saw, tape measure, screwdriver, pencil, paint brush, sandpaper

This project calls for fairly advanced woodworking skills. The swing should take a weekend to build, excluding the sanding and painting. The basic frame for the swing consists of two rectangular ends and three crosspieces. The seat, sides and back are attached to this frame. Use full thread screws, all countersunk, for joining pieces.

Step 1: Make up 2 identical rectangular frames: us 2’long frame pieces’ and 2 ‘short frame pieces’ for each frame. In each, offset one of the long pieces to the inside by 44mm. Place the 2 frames parallel to each other with the offset pieces at the bottom, facing the inside. Use the 1st crosspiece to join the frames at the front -it’s ends must be flush with the outside edges of the offset pieces.Secure each end with 4 screws through the crosspiece and into the side.

swing bench

Step 2: The 2nd crosspiece forms the upper support for the back slats,but its face must first be cut to and 80 degree angle. After shaping the crosspiece lay the frame on its back, then position the crosspiece in the inside top rear corners, with the angled face facing the front. Attach it with 3 countersunk screws per side.

swing bench

Step 3: Attach the 3rd crosspiece so its back edge is 100mm from the inside bottom rear corners. Secure each end with 2 screws running through the bottom of the frame and into the crosspiece. (The 4th crosspiece will be attached later)

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Step 4: Fit the fascia board. First, for spacing purposes, place a seat slat on the crosspieces. Position the fascia board so its rear top edge is flush with the top of the slat. Attach the fascia to the crosspiece by countersinking 5 screws at evenly spaced points. Remove the seat slat.

swing bench

Step 5: Fit the ‘side stops’. Cut an angle into one end of each ‘stop’ so that they will rest snuggly against the 80 degree angle of the back crosspiece. Fit the 1st ‘stop’ between the front piece of the side frame and then angled face of the back crosspiece, on the inner edge, and attach with screws. Repeat on the opposite side.

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Step 6: Cut diamond shapes out of the slats to be used for the back and sides. Attach 6 side slats to each frame by spacing them evenly and then screwing them to the ‘side stop’ at the top and the offset section of the frame at the bottom.

Step 7: Space the 12 seat slats evenly across the two lower crosspieces, letting them butt against the fascia board. Countersink 4 screws through each  slat, 2 at each end, securing them to the crosspieces.

Step 8: Cut the face of the remaining (4th) crosspiece at an 80 degree angle. Lay it on top of the seat slats. Remove the crosspiece and place it on a work surface, shaped side facing up. Place the back brace exactly parallel to it, 380mm apart. Space the back slats evenly over the horizontal pieces, aligned with the marks drawn earlier, and with their bottom ends flush and square with the wider side of the shaped crosspiece. Screw each back slat to the crosspiece and the brace. To ensure it will tilt to the rear, the bottom edge, now consisting of the back slats attached to the crosspiece, must be trimmed at an angle. Set the blade of the table saw at 10 degrees off vertical.

Step 9: Place the assembled section on the seat so that it leans back and rests flush against the angled face of the upper crosspiece. Countersink screws through each back slat into the upper crosspiece. Upend the screws and put 5 screws through the underside of the seat slats into the 4th crosspiece.

Step 10: Shape both armrests: start 100mm in from the outside front corner and draw a diagonal line that meets the outside back corner. Cut along this line and discard the thinner section, then round off all the corners of the armrests. Screw an armrest to each side frame, with the straight sides flush with the top inside edges. Next, attach the 2 short fascia boards to either side of the front of the frame, vertically, below each armrest.

Step 11: The holes for the rope support run just inside the crosspieces and must all align vertically. Mark points 65mm from the front and 75mm from the back of the armrest, then drill through both the armrest and the frame beneath. Mark and drill corresponding holes into the seat slats and lower frame.

Step 12:Sand all surfaces and edges with sandpaper. Paint with wood primer and finish your swing bench with your choice of paint.

swing bench

Step 13: To suspend the swing bench insert the ropes at each side and knot the ends. Once the swing is in position, adjust the ropes so that the front hangs slightly higher than the rear.