Whether you choose to build a porch glider from scratch, convert a high-backed bench with arms to a porch glider or are refurbishing a vintage glider, the project will only be successful if you reinforce the joints on the glider to float the glider along as smoothly as possible. Another reason to reinforce the joints on your porch glider is to reduce noise. It's hard to relax on a glider that is squeaking and grinding with every back-and-forth motion.
Here are suggestions to strengthen and smooth out the motion of your porch glider. It will soon have lateral motion as graceful as the arc movement of a wooden porch swing, with the benefit of greater stability than an outdoor porch swing.
Check your Vintage Glider for Glide Motion Problems
Examine the joints, support beams and glide hardware. Look for corrosion, wear, rust, fused bolts, stripped bolts, loose connecting holes, warped wood, bent metal legs and other signs that the glide hardware is no longer performing effectively. Decide whether they can be repaired or should be replaced.
Reinforce the Joints
Obtain the parts required to repair or replace the joint hardware, and carefully remove the old hardware to be replaced. Work on one side of the glider at a time to ensure that the glider retains it's structural integrity.
With wooden gliders, use small strong dowels for reinforcement. Attach the pivot hinges to the dowels, and the dowels to support beams.
With metal gliders, have an acetylene torch handy to weld new metal to the existing structure. Most ,if not all, of the glide hardware will need replacing as few metal gliders are less than 60 years of age.
Build New Joints If Necessary
To make new joints for metal gliders, you will need to use pivot hinges in the shape of a double eye, with a long screw on each end. Rebuild the metal support frames and reinforce the legs of the bench that sits atop them with new metal welded on for strength.
For wood gliders, you can use a new kind of pivot hinge that fits into a mortise-and-tenon connection joining the bench legs to the glide support. Woodworkers create smooth-running shallow drawers using this mechanism. These pivot hinges combine a rolling hexagonal bolt with two washers that is fitted into the mortise on the bench leg, and a frame for two screws that slot into the tenons on the glider support arm. The structure is strong and greatly reduces friction during the forward and rearward motion of the glider.
A porch glider in your outdoor environment will be used and enjoyed by all members of the family.