Redwood porch swing from reclaimed decking

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Project by devann posted 05-18-2011 05:38 PM 5319 views 5 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is a porch swing that I made for my mother. I used reclaimed redwood decking from a customer’s deck that I replaced a couple years ago. So it does have some blemishes, but Ma is happy beyond belief and that’s what really matters.

I have made porch swings in the past so I went with what I know and made a few design changes for this one. The first one was I wanted to have real arms on the swing. None of that chain attached to the swing that renders the arms useless. A closer look will reveal some wooden “caps” made from ipe that slip over the ends of the boards that I attached the eye bolts to. I did this has an attempt to eliminate the possibility of the board splitting because the eye-bolt had to be so near the end of the board.

I also raised the height of the back so one can rest their head against it and because my stepfather is on the tall side. I originally wanted the top board to be cut in an arch of some kind but decided to go with straight and simple. I felt like it would be more comfortable that way. A radius would have meant you had to sit in the middle all the time to have a comfortable place to rest your head. I always use the horizontal slats for the back because I believe that it is stronger than vertical and it’s easier to have some kind of contour for comfort.

This is also the heaviest porch swing that I ever made, it’s all 2×2s, 2×4s, 2×6, except for the 4xs at the arms. I generally use a 2×2 frame work and 1×2 slats and a 1×4 front with a hidden piece of hardwood behind it for strength. I did use ipe the beef up the 2xs that make up the bottom of the seat. I did this so I could use 2 1/2”screws at the lap joint connection holding the lower frame to the back. I wanted to have blind screwed slats but things got a little too busy with the framing connections at the front and I didn’t want to do mortise and tenon connections.
The dimensions are 6”0” overall with the seat 5’0”x 2’6”. The finish is wipe on poly. Thanks for taking a look. All comments welcomed.

-- Darrell, making more sawdust than I know what to do with

7 comments so far

View WWorker08's profile


41 posts in 2963 days

#1 posted 05-18-2011 06:18 PM

The reclaimed redwood looks great. It has character. Great idea with the chains. Gives it a nice clean look.

Always wanted to make one. What is the angle of the back?

View Don Johnson's profile

Don Johnson

685 posts in 2776 days

#2 posted 05-18-2011 06:44 PM

Hi Devann,

Good looking swing, with excellent design features.

Perhaps you could modify it to include a self-propelling foortrest like here;

I know I banged on about this before – see – but I bet your mum would appreciate it!

-- Don, Somerset UK,

View devann's profile


2246 posts in 2687 days

#3 posted 05-18-2011 06:50 PM

WWorker08; the back is at 13 degrees, the front of the seat is cut 5 degrees the other way. I also increased the radius on the front edge and back edge of the first slat.

Don, that looks really cool. I have to save it for next time.

-- Darrell, making more sawdust than I know what to do with

View patron's profile


13603 posts in 3336 days

#4 posted 05-18-2011 06:57 PM

well done my man
well done

i have made a few also
and just like yours
with the chains outboard

and the slats horizontal too

i entered one in a housing project contest
when i sat in it and swung
my legs got pinched under the lower rail
so i modified and did a cut out
with rounded corners

the guy that one 35 to build
had a lower rail
that was a full 8” (?)
and brought you to a stop in mid swing
you could push back
and come to a stop again in mid swing

but he was the cousin
of the woman in charge
of the housing project
so i guess his design
was better than mine after all

thanks darrel
i still have that swing laying in the yard
might be time to use it myself
it is total barn board now
but a little sanding
should bring it round

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View devann's profile


2246 posts in 2687 days

#5 posted 05-19-2011 02:48 PM

Thanks for the kind words and input David. I cut the front of the frame back at 5 degrees to allow for the swinging action. I also took 5 degrees off the top edge of the front rail and increased the radius on the first slat to 3/4” on the outside edge and 3/8” on the inside edge of it. All the rest of the slats all have 1/8” radius edges. The last edge at the top of the seat is back to 3/4” radius.

I’m not sure if the hardwood caps were necessary at the ends of the rails. They are 3/4” stock with a 3/8” deep pocket cut into them, then glued and hammered over the end of the rails. I was worried that one day the rails may split because of the eye-bolt hole being so close to the end of the board. Redwood is not the sturdiest of species when reduced to these dimensions.

David, i think you will agree that sometimes it’s not what you you know, but who you know. That swing you have will look nice on your porch near that sweet looking door table you made.

-- Darrell, making more sawdust than I know what to do with

View LittlePaw's profile


1571 posts in 3073 days

#6 posted 05-23-2011 04:46 AM

I don’t think, well I know, I’ve ever seen a porch swing that’s made better or prettier than the one I’m looking at right now! Also I noticed your attention to detail! It’s beautiful, Devann!

-- LittlePAW - The sweetest sound in my shop, next to Mozart, is what a hand plane makes slicing a ribbon.

View devann's profile


2246 posts in 2687 days

#7 posted 01-04-2016 04:49 PM

Some construction pictures of the above porch swing.

I should mention that the stretcher across the back of the swing making the rear eye bolt connection has been raised 4” to correct the geometry of the swing when exiting. We have a 50lb. dog that likes to lay in the swing when nobody is looking. When caught she bolts from the swing resulting in the swing flipping over backwards. After raising the stretcher the S hook connection was reestablished to return the swing proper seating position.

-- Darrell, making more sawdust than I know what to do with

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