How to Build a Porch Glider

Wondering how to build a porch glider? Porch gliders have graced porches for decades. Their simplicity and portability are hard to beat. The relaxing sensation of gliding back and forth is the perfect complement to sitting on your porch and watch the world pass by.

How To Build A Porch Glider That Swings

A porch glider is composed of two main components: a bench and a base. The bench can be something you've constructed, or any existing sturdy wooden or metal bench. The base must be sturdy as well, and must fit under the legs of the bench with an inch or two of clearance. Here's how to get started:

  • The swing's the thing. The key component of a porch glider is the swing mechanism. Basically, a glider works just like a swing, except the chair sits above the swinging arms. Your porch glider can have chains, long brackets or even hinges as its swinging mechanism. The Rockler Company, for example, makes and sells glider bracket hardware that bolts to the seat and base of your glider.
  • Take a seat. You can build a bench following any plan, but for best results, the bench should have sturdy legs, arm rests and a relatively high back. If you plan to use an existing bench, you may want to sand the bench down and refinish it. Make sure that whatever bench you choose leaves adequate clearance (at least 6" all around) when placed in your porch.
  • Stability first. You'll most likely have to build a base from scratch. Choose materials that are substantial and compliment the materials used to build the bench. The base should approximate a low, rectangular box made from 2"x4" members or similar. Make sure to size the base such that there is adequate vertical (1") and horizontal (1-1/4" each side) clearance for the bench and the glider bracket hardware.
  • Putting it together. First, drill holes through the legs of your base to accommodate the glider brackets. Attach the glider brackets to the base using strong bolts. Next, measure and drill holes in the legs of the bench following the glider bracket manufacturer's instructions. Bolt the glider brackets to the bench legs and set the glider upright. Test the glider using a heavy object before sitting on the unit.
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