Introduction: Traditional Garden Tree Swing

About: I studied Maths and Computing, worked in an Operation Research department, retrained as a civil engineer, worked on site for some major projects. I'm learning to be a structural engineer at the moment! I've al…

I am getting married in a few weeks and we are going for a vintage / village fete sort of theme.

The wedding is going to be held in a marquee in a field, which has an orchard leading to it. So my fiance wanted an old traditional vintage style swing put in one of the trees.

My nephews would like it also!!

Date Made: May 2013
Approx Cost: £0 - used old materials
Approx Time: 2 - 3 hours
Difficulty: Medium

Step 1: Things You Need

The materials you will need are:

*1no piece of wood approx 600mm long. I used an old scaffold board which is 38mm thick and 225mm wide
*Approx 8m of rope. This will differ if your tree branch is higher than 2.5m. I used some old rope from a working at heigh rescue kit. I am unsure what it is made of but looks natural. It is 3 strand and approx 19mm wide.
*Some duct tape. I used white so that it didn't stand out.
*Some cable ties. Again if they are white they won't stand out.

The tools you will need are:

*A flat wood bit and drill.
*A knife that will cut through the rope.
*A sander of some sort. 

Step 2: Seat

First I took the scaffold board and cut it to 600mm in length, trying to keep the ends square.

Next I took a mouse sander to the board and smoothed out all edges to get rid of sharps and splinters.

My rope was 19mm wide, so I used a 22mm flat wood bit and drilled a hole in each corner. I centred these hole 30mm in from each side of the board, so that they were even and also so that they had enough edge distance to the hole to keep the seat solid.

Step 3: Seat Chords

I then cut 2no 1.5m of rope - one for each side of the seat.

Note: Make sure you tape up the rope with duct tape before you cut through it so that it doesn't unravel. I measured, then taped, then actually cut through the mid point of the tape, thereby keeping the rope structure.

Feed each end of the loops through the holes of the board and tie a stopper knot on the end of each rope. I used this link to learn how to do a stopper knot:

Note: when unravelling a rope, again make sure you put tape around the rope as described in the link so that you don't lose the tightness and structure of the rope.

Once I had tied my knot, I used a cable tie to gather the rope ends together and then taped up the loose ends to tidy it up. I also put some duct tape around the rope where it passes through the seat, to save it from some wear and tear.

You now have your seat ready.

Step 4: Top Connection

You should have approx 5m of rope left. Cut this in half. (Obviously check the height of your tree to make sure you don't need more!).

Take one end of each rope and form a soft eye. This is the link I used to learn how:

Make sure you have at least 5 full tucks to keep the strength.

On the other end of the rope, tape it up well as this will remain 'a free end'.

Throw the rope over the tree, and feed the 'free' end through the eye.

Make sure you do them both in the same direction so that they match.

Step 5: Bottom Connection

Take the the free end of each rope and tie it to the loop on the seat using a reef knot. A reef knot looks like this:

But can't be formed in that way as you already have a loop on your seat, so I formed it using this sort of method:

Where the blue rope is your seat loop. Just change the location of the last feed to go back through like a reef knot.

At this point, adjust your swing so that it is the right height and level.

Then tie off what extra rope you have. I did this with a climbing knot:

But you could tie it off and wrap with twine to make it look even more vintage ( do this round both ropes):

Step 6: Enjoy

Enjoy your nice old looking swing!

To be honest, old thick rope isn't the best for making a swing as the rope is too thick for really tight knots, but it does look nice!!

Because of this, make sure you check your knots and rope regularly.

The way I have built this swing means that you can easily adjust the height and also easily remove it from the tree. If you want it to last a long time, take it in during the winter - although the longer you leave it out the more distressed it will look!!

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