Best type of wood for outdoor swing?

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Forum topic by LearningAsIGo posted 06-03-2014 04:01 PM 4737 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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50 posts in 2812 days

06-03-2014 04:01 PM

I’m trying to calculate how much it would cost to build an outdoor swing and stand similar to this.

Because pressure treated is the cheapest type of lumber and I will need 4×4’s which can get pricey I was thinking of using PT for the stand. How long does pressure treated wood tend to last and is there a difference in quality between the stuff you buy from a big box store vs a lumber yard?

I’m unsure about what type of wood to use for the swing. I’m leery of using PT lumber for something I would actually be sitting on. I plan on building a futon type swing with these plans as a guide. The plans call for this futon roller kit from rockler. I won’t need the knockdown hardware.

I need a type of lumber that will work with the rollers, it requires using a router to create a track that the rollers will follow. It seems like cedar, cypress or white oak are the best types of wood for outdoor projects that will be exposed to the elements? I feel like white oak might be too heavy. And I have heard most cedar and cypress lumber these days is new growth which isn’t as good for outdoor use as old growth. So I’m a bit stumped. Is there some other type of lumber that I’m missing? What type of lumber would you use?

Cost is also a concern, I was hoping to keep the cost of each component around $100. $100 for the stand and bolts, $100 for swing lumber, $100 for cushion fabric, $100 for swing hardware (chains etc…), $100 for outdoor foam.

I will stain, paint or seal this project somehow, in hopes that it will last longer than one season like those cheap steel outdoor swings for sale everywhere this time of year.

6 replies so far

View Ocelot's profile


2105 posts in 2814 days

#1 posted 06-03-2014 04:05 PM

Eastern Red Cedar works nicely for swings and is resistant to rotting. Swamp cyprus and Black Locust are other alternatives, but I would go with the Eastern Red Cedar. It’s not very strong, so you don’t want thin sections, but lots of swings and outdoor furniture are made of it.


View Kaleb the Swede's profile

Kaleb the Swede

1870 posts in 2145 days

#2 posted 06-03-2014 04:08 PM

Well….there is always teak and ipe but those are pretty expensive. What about the pressure treated for the supports and white oak for the swing? Don’t think I helped any. I’m building an outdoor table right now that uses ipe that my cousin gave me from a deck he built, and cedar for the other parts.

-- Just trying to build something beautiful

View Ocelot's profile


2105 posts in 2814 days

#3 posted 06-03-2014 04:12 PM

If you were anywhere near TN, you could shop here

I still haven’t made it up there, and it’s only 100 miles from me.


View LearningAsIGo's profile


50 posts in 2812 days

#4 posted 06-03-2014 07:52 PM

Nope not near TN.

How come you typically hear western red cedar being recommended for outdoor use. Isn’t eastern red cedar the stuff people put in closets?

View pauldye's profile


68 posts in 2260 days

#5 posted 06-03-2014 08:00 PM

Louisiana Cypress. Cost about $1.59/ft for 1×8 down here.

View WDHLT15's profile


1786 posts in 2652 days

#6 posted 06-04-2014 02:13 AM

Yes, eastern red cedar is used for chests and closets because the moths don’t like the oil in cedar.

Eastern red cedar heartwood is very rot resistant. The sapwood (cream color part) is not as rot resistant. You choices for woods that you mentioned are right on the money. White oak will work fine. It is stronger that the other domestic choices.

-- Danny Located in Perry, GA. Forester. Wood-Mizer LT40HD35 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln.

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