The following method can be used to create a fantastic wooden garden swing in 10 easy steps or modified to your own dimensions to produce a relaxing garden swing bench.
Step 1 - Prepare the Beams and Cross Rail
Always use the best wood possible to make your wooden garden swing. 150mm by 50mm softwood timber is ideal and should be evenly planed to produce a smooth, even finish for the two upright beams and the cross-rail.
Step 2 - Cut the Timber to Length
The two upright beams should be cut to lengths of 2.8 metres. This will allow for 710mm of each beam to be sunk into the ground to provide a solid foundation for your swing. Allow enough timber for a cross-rail of 1200mm.
Step 3 - Treat the Timber
If the timber you are using has not been pressure treated, soak the 710mm of beam that will be underground in a good quality wood preservative.
Step 4 - Join the Beams and Cross Rail
The cross-rail should be secured to the two upright beams using mortise and tenon joints and a liberal amount of waterproof glue. Once the glue is dry, the protruding ends of the beams and cross-rail can be planed away for a tidier finish.
Step 5 - Tidy the Timber and Make It Safe
All remaining splinters and snagging points can be removed using medium grade sandpaper. The entire frame can now be treated with wood varnish or sealant.
Step 6 - Dig Out the Footings and Raise the Frame
Lay the frame horizontally on the floor and mark out two holes for the upright beams. Dig to a depth of 860mm and pack 160mm of rubble into the holes to promote effective drainage. Using a couple of friends to help lift the frame, insert the two beams into the hole until the entire frame is being held in an upright position.
Step 7 - Set the Frame in Place
Compact some additional rubble around each beam to a level of no more than 200mm from the top of the hole. The remaining sections of the two holes can now be filled with stiff concrete and smoothed, making sure that the surface slopes away from the wooden beams.
Step 8 - Prepare the Ropes
Take two lengths of polypropylene rope and fold each one in half. A metal eyelet can now be placed on the ends to form loops and set into place using waxed twine. The best eyelets to use for this part of the project are ‘Thimbles’ and these can be easily found in sailing shops.
Step 9 - Make the Seat and Mark Up the Cross Rail
Cut a piece of 230mm by 58mm softwood timber to a length of 575mm. This will be used for the seat. Drill four holes into the seat with two on each shorter side. These should be approximately 40mm from the corners of the seat. Measure the exact length between the holes and mark the same distance on the cross-rail so that the ropes will hang straight.
Step 10 - Hook the Rope and Secure the Seat
Screw two swing hooks into the cross-rail and slip over the rope eyelets. The rope ends can be cut and threaded through the seat and adjusted until the desired seat height is found. The ropes can then be knotted beneath the seat and fused together with a match or other heat source. Bind each piece of looped rope with waxed twine around 200mm above the face of the seat.
The final construction will leave you with a solid wooden garden swing that will be strong enough to take the weight of adults, teenagers and children.