This garden plaything must be the most popular that has ever been devised. I have tried to avoid one or two problems that do occur when designing and making a free-standing swing. The bases are very long and the swing is braced at the sides so you don’t need to secure it into the ground. If you fit a plywood base it will prevent the mud puddle which is so often found beneath swings, and the dangerous concrete that usually fills the hole after the first season’s use.
Today many gardens are fairly small and there are more paved patio areas than ever before. This swing is ideal for such locations, the only requirement being a flat piece of ground to set it up. Just in case you have a budding Tarzan in the family I have allowed for extra guy ropes to be threaded through the top bars allowing the swing to be guy roped — just like a tent.
The wooden swing seat can be dangerous and it is therefore a good idea to pad the front and sides with rubber to avoid any accidents. This is not a difficult project so don’t be daunted by the size of some of the pieces of wood.
I Start by marking out all the uprights for the side frames — the two vertical legs and the four legs for the bracing frame assembly. Mark each category out together to ensure accuracy. Be particularly careful to mark out the trenches on the vertical legs carefully. These are for the cross members of the bracing frames to fit into. Once you are sure your marking out is accurate, cut out all the uprights, cut out all the halving joints and the angles on the ends of the bracing frame assembly legs. Drill holes in the vertical legs for the coach bolts.
2 . Now mark and cut out the other pieces of timber needed for the side frames: the facing plate mounting blocks which fit on the top of the vertical legs, the cross members for the vertical leg bracing frame assembly, which needs three halving joints, and the corner blocks for the bracing frame.
3 Lay out all the pieces for the side frames on a large flat surface and check everything fits together properly. Then glue and screw the side frames together using waterproof glue and zinc-plated screws that won’t rust.
4 Now mark and cut out all the cross members for the base. Four of these are exactly the same length and have halving joints cut on the ends, so it is a good idea to mark these out together. The central cross member, however, is longer and in addition to needing two trenches for the longitudinal base members to fit into, it also needs holes drilled for the coach bolts that will fix the lateral bracing ties in place.
When the cross members are finished, cut the two longitudinal base members to length, and mark and cut out the three trenches for the side frame uprights to fit into. (I also cut angles on the ends of these base members for no other reason than that I think it looks better.)
5 Now glue and screw the longitudinal and cross members together to form a good solid base. With the help of an assistant, glue and screw each side frame into place. Cut to length the two lateral bracing ties, cut the angles needed on the bottom of each and drill holes for the coach bolts. Fix the ties on to the vertical legs and central base cross member with coach bolts. Saw off any protruding bolt ends (see page 94), file the ends smooth and cover them with plastic insulation tape for both safety reasons and weather protection.
6 Cut out the upper cross member that will hold the ropes for the swing. This piece of timber projects out over the vertical legs and can be drilled with holes for guy ropes, should they be required. Drill the holes for the swing ropes. Glue and screw the upper cross member into place on top of the vertical legs and between the facing plate mounting blocks. These blocks give extra rigidity since the upper cross member will take a lot of strain when the swing is in use, as do the two upper member facing plates, which you should cut out and glue and screw in position on each side of the upper cross member.
7 Finally you are ready to hang the seat. Cut it out and drill the holes for the ropes. Round off the edges with a spokeshave and glasspaper t carefully so that it is really smooth. Ideally you should fit rubber round the edges to avoid a child being hurt if hit by it
My method of roping the seat was simply to thread a length of rope through the two holes on each side of the seat, take the two ends up through the predrilled hole in the cross member and knot them together with massive knots that couldn’t possibly be pulled back through the hole.
8 Finish off the swing by sandpapering off any sharp edges and see page 95 for advice on wood preservatives and exterior paints.
Base — cross members 4 off 730 x 70 x 44mm (283/4 x 23/4 x 1 3/4 in) Timber
1 off 1530 x 70 x 44mm (601/4 x 23/4 X 13/4 in) Timber
Base — longitudinal 2 off 1505 x 70 x 44mm (59 1/4 x 23/4 x 13/4 in) Timber
Bracing frame 2 off 788 x 70 x 44mm (31 X 23/4 X 13/4 in) Timber
1 off 610 X 70 x 40mm (24 x 23/4 x 13/4 in) Timber
Flooring 1 off 1465 x 641 x Зmm(573/4 x 251/4 x 1/8 in) Plywood
Leg 2 off 1848 x 70 x 44mm (723/4 x 23/4 x 13/4 in) Timber
Bracing 4 off 1403 x 51 x 22mm (55 1/4 x 2 x 7/8in) Timber
Upper cross member 1 off 940 X 70 X 44mm (37 X 23/4 X 13/4in) Timber
Facing plates 2 off 775 x 121 x 22mm(301/2 x 43/4 x 7/8in) Timber
Mounting blocks 4 off 286 x 44 x 38mm (11 1/4 X 13/4 x 11/2 in) Timber
Seat 1 off 508 x 248 x 22mm (20 x 93/4 x 7/8in) Timber
4 off 127mm (5in) long x 9mm (3/8in) coach bolt
Make from 725 mm (24ft) stout nylon cord