Replace a broken or shabby swing seat on your child's swing set with handsome cedar or redwood plank seats. Follow these instructions to improve the safety and appearance of your child's play equipment.
Step 1 - Choose High-Quality Wood
Use redwood or cedar for the replacement swing seats, as they resist moisture and insects.
Obtain planks that are eight inches in width and two inches in depth. A six-foot length should make four swing seats, each 18 inches long.
Step 2 - Cut the Planks for the Seats
Cut the wood planks to the same length as the old seats, so they will fit the chains or ropes. Sand the seats with a fine-grained sandpaper block for a smooth finish. Drill four mounting holes for each seat, using the old seats as a guide for locating and sizing holes.
Stain the planks if you like. Allow the finish to dry thoroughly before attaching the new seats to their suspension.
Step 3 - Install the Seats into the Swing Set
Check that the chains or ropes of the swing set are in good condition to reuse. If not, replace them with bright-colored nylon-blend rope, at least 3/4 inch in size. Attach the new seats to the suspension, ensuring they are level and secure. Follow Step 3A to use the existing chains, or Step 3B if you replace the chains with new ropes.
Step 3A - Attach to Existing Chains
Replace the chain brackets to improve the safety of the swing set. Determine the correct sizes of bolts and nuts to attach the swing seats to the chain brackets. Drill corresponding holes in the seat edges, at least two inches from the front and rear. Attach the chain brackets with the bolts. Secure firmly at the bottom of the planks with the nuts.
Step 3B - Attach to New Ropes
Measure the swing set from the crossbar to the desired base height of the seats off the ground. Buy 3/4-inch size Dacron and polyester blend, weather-resistant rope twice this length for each of the swings you are replacing. Cut each rope length in half. Drill 3/4-inch holes in the planks one inch from each edge, aligned front to back. Hang the ropes over the swing set crossbar so the ends are even. Make a loose single knot in the rope and pull the knot up to the crossbar. Even out the rope ends, and repeat with the opposite side rope for each swing. Tie off a double knot in the ropes for each end of the seat, about a foot above the seat base. Insert the ends of the ropes through the drilled holes and tie knots in the ropes firmly below the seat. Seal the knots with a propane torch to prevent slippage.
The comfortable replacement seats on a revived backyard swing set can renew your children's interest in the outdoors and be a safe, fun way for them to get the exercise they need.