BasicBUILDS: Build a Swing Bed

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By Daniel Friday

Swing beds have played a long and comfortable role in Southern history. In the days before central air-conditioning, folks slept on their covered porches to take advantage of the cool night air. My swings are still great for napping, but these days, they’re outfitted with a stack of pillows and employed as nostalgic swinging seats.
The surprising secret to building this large project is that you don’t need much woodworking experience or even a large workshop. After building more than 150 swings in my garage shop, I’ve come up with a solid, simple design that uses home center lumber and hardware, a few tools, and basic woodworking skills. In fact, you can assemble the project in one weekend, finish it the next, and hang it as soon as the paint’s dry.
My swings are used indoors and out. For exterior installations, I recommend using a high-quality exterior paint, or a stain with a spar urethane topcoat. It’s best to bring blankets and pillows indoors. To protect the mattress from wet weather, zip it up in a vinyl liner.

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