Author Topic: Yard Swing  (Read 621 times)

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Offline w8ye

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Yard Swing
« on: January 11, 2012, 07:26:45 pm »
My wife has been wanting a yard swing in the back yard. We had one that sat on the ground made of treated lumber and partially seen behind the new one, that belonged to her parents but the years have taken their toll. She wanted a new one

I made a park bench in the summer of 1962. The frame was 1-1/2" X 1/4" strap iron. The slats are 1" X 1/4" with 1/4" spacing. It is setting on the patio and has lasted as good as new all these years. I made this as part of a welding course that I was taking in college. I copied the profile from benches that were scattered about the University that were probably made as part of a welding class in the 40's? I welded the bench up with red dog rod on a Saturday in my dad's shop. I sawed all the pieces by hand with a hack saw. That was a lot of sawing. Looking back on it, the bench was overbuilt. The steel slats should have been wider and only 1/8" thick and spaced farther apart. But the bench is now 49 yrs old and is good as new but just a little heavy and hard to move to clean behind.

After thinking about it for a few years, I became all inspired and built a frame to support the new swing from treated lumber. The frame is an adaptation from a kid's swing kit that is sold at a local big box store like Home Depot and Lowe's. It consisted of steel brackets for the corners and some lag screws. You had to buy the treated lumber and deck screws separate. I adjusted the overall dimensions to fit my needs for the yard swing mainly by making the top cross beam 8' long overall instead of 12' long like in the instructions. Instead of buying their hangers, I bought 1/2" by 6" eye bolts and drilled a hole up through the center to hang the swing chains. I have 3/8" and 1/2" spade drill bits with drill rod extensions welded onto them for drilling through timbers.

After the "A" frame was done, it was time to make the swing itself. I decided to copy the profile of the park bench I built in 1962 and use the same 1 1/2" X 1/4" steel for the frame of the swing and have wooden slats. You can get this size steel at the local hardware store in 4' lengths. There were to be three seat shaped pieces and two 2' arms of the same material. I decided that if I drilled the attachment holes in the frame pieces before bending that the steel would bend at the holes instead of gracefully about its length so the hole positions were laid out 2" O.C. and center punched but were not drilled 9/32" with an electric drill until after shaping the frame pieces cold with the aide of a 8" vice, big pipe wrench, and a two pound hammer. When I had them shaped as I wanted, I painted them black with a rattle can.

I had wanted to make the slats in the swing with something that would last outdoors for several years. Redwood was my original choice but is hard hard to come by. You can get some third world woods similar to mahogany and teak easier than redwood. $$$. The oak, now days, is red oak and it only lasts a few seasons outdoors unlike the old white oak of years ago. After having built several decks over the years, I had ruled treated pine out. I had been eyeballing the plastic decking boards for 10 years or so. I eventually come across some installations. The conclusion was that the plastic is good for decking only and must be supported 16" on center. It is not for supporting frame members. Also a decking screw run through a plastic plank without a predrilled hole will cause the plastic decking to split after a year or so.

The swing slats are 49" long which is wasteful from an efficiency point of view. I needed 21 slats. The North Dex plastic decking boards were only in stock as nominal 1 X 6 X 12'.  They were 5-1/2" X 3/4". I could cut and rip 6 pieces 1-5/8" X 3/4" X 49" from each board with 46" left over. I cut one of the 46" pieces up to make the arms. So I had to buy 4 boards. The boards were $19.57 each. Outrageous, but cheaper than the same boards at Lowe's for $27.95 ea. I have three spare slats left over also. They were cut to length on the radial arm saw and ripped to width on the table saw. I used a finish blade and it sawed with no burning or melting and pretty much the same as if it had been treated lumber. I rounded all edges with a router to 1/2" radius. I then drilled three 9/32" holes in each slat for attachment to the 1-1/2" X 1/4" strap iron frame pieces. It was pretty much 8 hrs work preparing the slats. The spacing worked out as I assembled the slats to the frame pieces, I only had to narrow one for clearance to clear the adjacent slats. I attached the slats with new 1/4" X 2" carriage bolts. I cut the excess bolt lengths off with a air powered cut off grinder.

The swing was beautiful! So I decided it deserved welded link chain. I bought 20' of 3/16" chain at the hardware and 8 connecting links. I counted the chain links and made a bridle to hold the swing at a comfortable angle and height by having my wife set in the swing with it propped up. I had a little chain left over.

My wife really likes it. I have $280 and 48 hrs labor in the build. For that I was allowed to buy another saw.

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Offline Al Smith

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Re: Yard Swing
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2012, 07:52:58 pm »
Neato .I made one for my oldest granddaughter who will soon be 19 years old .

Lawdy the time I got the soft seats with enclosed chain so she couldn't get her fingers caught in it and bought a fancy plastic sliding board I had over 500 bucks in it and I built the damned thing myself . She was 4 at the time I built it .

I've got three grandchildren and that's likely all I have so I can afford to spoil them rotten if I want to . ;D

Offline rgclmc

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Re: Yard Swing
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2012, 08:03:02 pm »
Cool swing ;D


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