Wood choice for porch swing

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Forum topic by boone0 posted 06-08-2016 05:35 PM 553 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3 posts in 946 days

06-08-2016 05:35 PM

Hey everyone, looking for a little advice on a porch swing. I’d like to build one as an anniversary gift for my wife, for our new house. If this is in the wrong forum, please move or let me know and I will repost.

I am looking at building a swing, loosely using these plans:

I need to keep the project relatively inexpensive, hopefully under $150 (and preferably much less). I’m newer to woodworking. I understand basic concepts but just don’t have a ton of experience, so these plans appeal to me because they don’t have any complicated joinery.

I plan on staining the wood and using an outdoor polyurethane or similar finish. I am thinking a darker shade of walnut. This will be in a covered location, my front porch, but it will still be exposed to some moisture, sun only in the late afternoon.

Tools I own: circular saw, table saw with ripping and crosscut blades, cordless drill and drill press, orbital sander. I may have access to a jig saw, I need to check with family. I don’t own a router but I am waiting for one to pop up at a garage sale or craigslist.

So given all of this, my questions:

Any suggestions on better, simpler, or similar plans?
What lumber should I go with? I was thinking I would cut fir 2×4’s (I have a few already) for the support pieces, then use pine for the slats. Am I better off going with a different type of wood? Would it be more economical to build this from pre cut lumber, or just buy a handful of 2×4s and rip/cut to size?
Any other thoughts to minimize the cost and labor time on this project?

Thanks in advance for any help you guys can offer!

4 replies so far

View ScottM's profile


681 posts in 2295 days

#1 posted 06-08-2016 06:05 PM

I think those plans look pretty good for the tools you have on hand. You have a few choices to make regarding the wood you choose. 2×4’s will be cheaper but will require more work to make them into decent pieces so you’ll have to weigh the effort versus buying some better “select” material.

I’m sure you’ll get lots of opinions on this…

Good luck and welcome aboard!

View a1Jim's profile


117239 posts in 3726 days

#2 posted 06-08-2016 06:07 PM

Hi There Boone
As with most buying choices you can go cheap or long lasting. These woods will hold up outdoor without finish.
White oak,cedar, Ipe,redwood,cypress. If you are going to paint it Poplar is a good choice for a harder wood with relatively low cost. When looking at plans avoid plans that use lots of pocket screws. If you search here on Ljs you should see a number of swings you like,if you send the maker a PM(private message) they may give you dimensions and perhaps even a parts list or plans. Hope this helps.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View a1Jim's profile


117239 posts in 3726 days

#3 posted 06-08-2016 06:10 PM

Oops, missed the link the plans look ok .

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View HokieKen's profile


6298 posts in 1287 days

#4 posted 06-08-2016 06:28 PM

I agree with Jim on the wood. I would use white oak or cedar if it were me. Depending on your location, you should be able to get one of those woods at a local lumberyard relatively inexpensively. They may offer milling for some additional cost if you don’t have a jointer and/or planer.

If you don’t have availability of those woods, then I’d pay a few extra $ for select grade doug fir or southern yellow pine – seal them well though because they’re not naturally rot resistant.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

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