The porch glider is gaining new recognition in the 21st century as an inexpensive, relaxing piece of outdoor furniture. More versatile than a wood or wicker porch swing, which are fixed in one place, it is also more stable, and gentler in its linear motion than the arcs of a rocker or swing chair.
Building your own porch glider is inexpensive and fun. Start with an existing armchair-style bench, add the glider movement, and your overall cost will be about $60. To build one from scratch, buy glider-building plans and diagrams starting at $10. You will pay for the pivot guides and all materials, and finish with a unique, long-lasting decorative outdoor seat. Follow the instructions below to convert a bench to a glider.
Step 1- Select and Refurbish the Bench for Your Glider Seat
Slim wooden benches with arms and a high open backrest are most suitable for gliders. Sand and refinish the bench to make it look fresh and new. Coat with weather-resistant varnish or polyurethane for outdoor use.
Step 2- Build the Glider Base
Measure the distance between the forelegs and hind legs of the bench. Cut 2 planks of new wood- the same type as the bench. Make them 2 inches wide, and 2 inches greater in length than the distance between the front and rear bench legs. Use 2 of the 20 dowels you will need for this project, to create the first side of the glider support stand. Cut the dowels to the same height as the armrest handles on the bench. At rest the vertical dowels should be at a 60-degree angle to the end of the planks, and hammered down to attach to the plank.
Attach a horizontal dowel measuring the same length as the bench armrest handle to the top of the vertical dowels. Make a second vertical plank and dowel rhombus for the opposite-side glider support stand. With another dowel, make a second horizontal support that will rest 3 inches below the top dowel. Add a second support dowel to the other stand. For a central bench support, lay each side support down.
Nail a center hardwood plank to the lower horizontal dowels on each side. The bench will be supported on this piece of hardwood and the dowels. Brace the center bench rest with 2 dowels affixed at 90 degrees, from the center of the side planks to the midpoint of the bench rest plank directly above.
Step 3- Attach Pivot Hinges to Form the Glider Movement
4 dowels now need to be attached from the side stands to the bench legs. Measure and trim the dowels to the desired size. Drill corresponding holes in the legs and the dowels. The pivot hinges will be affixed into the holes. Attach the 8 pivot hinges by screwing their ends into the correct hole on the stands or the bench legs. Test the glider and straighten the bench - stand alignment as needed. Check for loose dowels and screws and tighten or replace them. To finish the glider sand and coat it with stain, varnish and/or polyurethane.