Introduction: Make an Old Swingset Into a Two Person Hanging Swing

Swing Set Hanging Porch Swing 6/6/2010

Well, its been some 14 years since I built this swingset for my then 2 and 4 year old. It was made from pressure-treated 4x4's, 4x6's, 2x6's; pretty heavy duty stuff. Not being one to throw away something that is perfectly good, I'm now stuck with what to do with this thing. It's still in perfect shape, but noone in the house to use it.

Step 1: The Plan.

Swing Set Hanging Porch Swing 6/6/2010

Well, the Mrs suggested turning it into a hanging bench for two. And this is that project. So over breakfast coffee with pen and paper, I drew up these plans:

Please take those hand written plans with a grain of salt; there's a reason there 3 versions. I changed and played with the numbers and layout until I got it like I wanted. Most notibly you notice I switched the backrest riser from the outside of the frame to the inside; this changes things if you make your own adjustments. I also took into consideration the real dimensions of 2x4's and 1x4" ( 1.5x3.5, and .75x3.5) to get my bench width to exactly 48" (mostly so the 1x3's could split in half to get 2 planks per 8 footer with no waste)

Step 2: The BOM (bill of Material)

Well so off I go with a list of stuff to get at the home depot. here's the BOM that I actually used:


count part
3 2x4x8'
6 1x3x8'
2 1x2x8'
1 1x4x8'
1 1x6x8'
4 3/8x4" eye bolts
8 3/8 washers
8 3/8 nuts
4 4" right angle irons
8 1/4 x 1 1/2" hex bolt
4 1/4 x 2" hex bolt
1 bag of 1/4" nuts
1 bag of 1/4" flat washers
25 feet of 255lb rated chain
2 "S" hooks
2 3/16 Quick Links (616lb rated)

and from home stock:
1 5/8", 3", and 3 1/2" deck screws,
1 1/2" deck nails (with the twist in it.)

total cost:
around $70 not counting stain and finishing plus about 6 hours assembly time:

Step 3: The Build.

The build was pretty straight forward. The 3/8 eye hooks were openned up just enough to let the chain slip in, and the open end was locked down so the chain wouldn't come off. the 2 quick links were used at the top to join the two chains on each side.
The chain was cut into 4 even lenghths.
The unusual part is in the putting together of the 2 2x4's to make a 2x8. the bottom 2x4's being the support for the whole bench. I use the scrap pieces of the 1x4 and 2x4's to attach them to the bottom frame of the bench. Note the 2x4 scrap is raised about a 1/2" so the bench frame can't slip off the supports. This created the need to notch the center support. The picture just before the planking is started shows this best.

The seating area is 16x48" and the backrest is 15" tall in this version. If I had to do it again, I think I'd raise the backrest a lot more, although this version the backrest top is a perfect height for elbows.
The support 2x4's are 54" long, and I was able to get away with this as the swing attachments were farther out. Even still the chain rubs the armrests, I would make these supports longer next time so the chain is completely free of the armrests.
The armrests were made from the leftover piece of 1x6 that made up the back. I Just winged it with a pencil to what I wanted, cut it out on my band saw, notched out where it needed to be to get around the planking.
Well, its about to start to rain, so we will have to move indoors for staining. The can says to use a brush, but I like to use a rag and rub the stain into the finish. I think it comes out nicer that way: