In this video I’ll be showing you how I made this A frame porch swing stand. Lets get into the process.
Things I Used in This Project:
I started off by flipping out the wings on my miter saw stand and cutting down the material that will make up the four legs. If you would like a set of plans with a cultist and material list, you can find those here: https://bit.ly/2EP4A22
After cutting the angle on the bottom of the leg, I went to the top and used a template to trace the needed top profile. BTW: a template for this shape comes with a set the purchase of a set of plans.
After tracing the shape, I used a bandsaw to cut it out. It can be a little tricky to do with a bandsaw because of the length so grab a friend if you’re able to. If not, a jigsaw would also work.
After I got one of the legs fully cut on top and bottom, I used it to trace the different cuts on the remaining three legs then repeated with the cutting process.
With this project being so large, I find it easiest to work directly on the floor of my shop instead of a workbench. I laid out all four legs in the orientation they would end up, then started marking the locations of the stretchers. These are the pieces that will span from leg to leg.
To make a cleaner looking finish project and also a stronger connection, I decided to make these a half lap joint. I measured up from the end of the leg on all four then making sure the top profile cut was touching, I pulled out a tape measure to the dimension the bottom splay needed to be then made sure the legs were positioned as far a part as they should be.
Now that the legs are staged in their final position, I grabbed the bottom stretcher and simply set it in place directly onto of the legs. Here, I made sure the board landed on my pencil marks on both legs, then used a pencil to mark the top and also the bottom. This will indicate where the half lap on the legs needs to be cut in. Then before moving the board, I went to the underside…you might need a short pencil to do this….and also marked the stretcher the same which will indicate where the half lap is needed on the stretcher.
Now on to making all of the half laps, to do this you want to set the depth of your saw to half the overall depth of your material.
Then you take out half the material at the connection, on both boards being joined together. If you go the same route as me and use a circular saw, then a quick method is to make multiple cuts with the saw where the material needs to be removed.
then break out the pieces and clean up the bottom. I typically use a chisel to just bend over the pieces until the majority break off then chisel up the bottom flush but a claw on a hammer also works.
After knocking out one, I would set the part back into place on the floor then repeat on the next one. BTW: If you want to simplify this project you can skip the half laps and just face screw the stretchers to the inside of the frame. However, this does give it a pretty tidy look at the end. If you go the half lap route, I always take my time making the first two cuts to establish the boundary of joint, then zoom away to cut out all the inside cuts.
I always recommend dry fitting your pieces before applying any glue so this is just a dry run for me, as you can see, the stretcher is still left long at this point.
Ok, good to go! I hauled the stretcher over to the miter saw to cut it to length. After repeating for the top stretcher I started adding glue and attaching things.
Since this is an outdoor project be sure to use a water proof wood glue on any joints. I applied a good amount then slipped in the stretchers. Don’t be afraid to use a mallet to work it into position, it should be a tight joint.
I attached things using three outdoor rated screws per connection, however if you wanted an upgrade, two bolts on each location would be a good choice.
Ok lets stand up the two ends and connect the two. This step is certainly easier to call in a friend for help. After roughly placing both ends, I held one end of the beam in it’s socket while David, who is actually the Manager of The Wood Shed but was doing some work in my shop, moved in the other leg so it could also be craddled.
Once it’s up there, I climbed up to get it snuggly seated all the way down, then attached it. The thing to pay attention to here is I left the beam a little long so there would be a nice over hang on either end.
So I just had to make sure the distance it was overhanging was correct before I drove in the screws. I placed screws in from both sides, but again bolts would be an upgraded option here.
Perfect, moving on. Now to the inside of the frame I first cut then added in some gussets. These are a small part compared to everything else on the build but they are important to keep the frame from being able to rack left and right. I quickly cut both sides to the needed angle then lined them up to be center to the header and the top stretcher. Just a tip for you, I always try and get some screws started in my board when I know I’ll only have one hand available for securing.
Gussets are added, which adds rigidity so lets add the swing and give it a test run! We aren’t done yet, but I’m too impatient to wait. I added in some eye lets to the top header beam then hung up my swing.
If you’re needing a swing as well then check out my website as I have templates for making this one here: http://bit.ly/2L8wsjt Over the years I’ve built plenty of these two seaters and also a single person seater option and they make wonderful gifts.
Ok lets add on two more additions. There is some built in wasted space on frames because since the swing needs to be inside the gussets on the frame, however long the gussets are is just open space. To put it to some sort of use, I built in some little end tables, if you will.
I started by making a few more half laps joints in this bottom stretcher then holding a 2×4 in place to trace out the profile.
This gave me the area I needed to take away to make a matching arm. I cut the waste out at the bandsaw then glued these pieces into place.
Next I cut up and sanded a few fence pickets to make the top deck boards. After lining them up, I secured them into place with screws. I didn’t glue these in just so I can easily replace them in the future should I need to.
Honestly, I don’t know if these will be handy or not. My porch swing does come with a cup holder in both arms, which seems to be the most valuable. But who knows, maybe I’ll want to carve a spoon while swinging and be able to use the end table for my tools. Or maybe even a bluetooth speaker for some music.
Ok, last detail! A top cap. This is just for aesthetics but I think gives the frame a more complete look. After sanding down a board, I cut it to length then used a few screws to secure it to the top of the beam.
Annnnd done. It can be a bit awkward to move this big heavy thing but it definitely can be done with two people. Or it could be built in place.
I placed mine out in front of my shop so I have a nice place to go take a call or relax at the end of the day.
If you’re interested in other designs, I also built this different style of porch swing frame a few years ago and it has a roof to provide some shade.
I’ll leave you a link to all the things I’ve mentioned below. If you purchase a set of plans or templates from me, then a big thank you for supporting what I do.