You can glue the biscuits if you prefer, but I don't bother: The bolt assembly will pull these front joints tight. Next, slip the bolt assembly through the arm, arm support, front post, and side rail, and draw the wood parts tight with a nut and washer. Spread glue into the remaining biscuit slots, and then assemble the entire side assembly. (See photo, above.)
With both sides assembled, you're ready to join them to the rails. A large benchtop or the shop floor is ideal for this operation. With a pipe clamp holding the back rail in rough position between the sides, install the head rail and the front rail to the sides by drilling through holes for the connector bolts (available from The Woodworkers' Store, 800-279-444 1). The large-diameter heads on these bolts and caps allow you to install them without washers, and their slim profile means countersinking is unnecessary. Buy the holts in the sizes shown in Fig. 1, then use a hacksaw or bolt cutters to shorten them to the correct length for the seat rail and head rail. Use a hex wrench to cinch the bolts tightly into their cap nuts.
Once you've installed the bead and front rails, you can secure the back rail permanently. Slip one end of a seat slat up into a head rail mortise near the cen ter of the swing and lay [lie opposite end In the corresponding dado in the seat rail. Then adjusr the angle of the back raii until it rests evenly across the back of the slat. Mark and drill through each back post and into the rail tor a pair of dowels. Spread glue on the dowels and drive them into the holes, then saw or pare any protruding dowels flush to the posts.
The final assembly procedure is to secure the seat slats, l it all the slats into the head rail mortises, then mark each slat where it contacts the back rail and where it overhangs the seat rail. Remove all rile slats, cur them to finished length, and drill holes for the connector bolts. Reinstall all the slats and drill through them into the front and back rails. Then spread glue into the mortises and into the dadoes and secure the slats with the bolts. Pin all the slats in their head-rail mortises with Vg-tn.-dia, hardwood dowels.
With all the slats in place, use a router and a '/¡-in. round-over bit to soften the front edge of the seat lor a more comfortable feel. Then remove any sharp edges with sandpaper. 1 finish my swings by brushing on a couple coats of exterior-grade polyu re thane. Ibis gives the wood a sarinv fee] and offers good protection against dirt, wear, and sunlight.
As with any project worth its salt, the best part comes last: hanging the swing. I use -Vj^-in. "proof coil" chain rated for an 800-lb. load, commonly available at hardware stores or home centers. You'll need two 35-in. lengths to secure to the arm bolts, and two lengths for connecting the arm chains to a screw eye anchored in a beam or joist. Adjust the length of the vertical chain until the front of the seat is about 22 in. from the floor. (See Fig. 3.) 1 recommend using spring hooks to connect the various lengths of chain together. These self-closing connectors arc easy ro operate, and they allow you to remove the swing without tools should you need to move it or store it during wintry weather.
When your swing is hung it should tilt backward slightly, providing a comfortable angle for you and your loved one to while away rhe hours. A.
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