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How to hang a porch swing

#482 by timhaas » Wed Sep 20, 2006 12:09 pm

Hi
I recently built a porch swing from plans on the ShopSmith site for my fiancee. It turned out great, but I am having trouble figuring out how to hang it properly. We just purchased the house built in 1923 and the front pourch has a beutiful oak tounge and grouve ceiling. I do not want to cut into it to gain access to the rafters. Would lag hooks screwed up into the ceiling be strong enough? I do not think they would be but I can not figure out anouther way to mount this unless I cut into the ceiling. If anyone would have any sugestions I would realy apriciate it. I want to get the swing hung by her birthday Oct 5th
Thanks again
Tim

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#483 by reible » Wed Sep 20, 2006 1:19 pm

Hi,

You should be able to find the supporting beams by looking for where the ceiling boards are nailed up or simply by tapping along to where you no longer hear a hollow sound. They also make tools call "stud finders" which might work.

Yes you must find the beams to hang the swing. Add the weight of the swing, two people and then start swinging back and forth and the load numbers are going to be very high.

Make sure the mounting hardware you buy is designed for this sort of thing... it will cost more but it is safer that way.

Ed

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#485 by Unregistered » Wed Sep 20, 2006 2:59 pm

I am sorry I guess I was not clear i what I was trying to ask. I can find the beams with no problem. I was trying to figure out how to put hardware up in the ceiling with out making a big mess of my ceiling. My local hardware store does not have any thing specifically designed for a porch swing. does anyone have a system they recomend.
Thank You
Tim

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#486 by reible » Wed Sep 20, 2006 4:04 pm

Hi,

Sorry I must have gotten the wrong idea as to what you were asking.

If you want the hardware try:
http://www.swingplans.com/hardware.html

I'm sure a lot of other places carry products like this but at least you can see what they have to offer and then look locally or print out the page and take it with you to the stores.

Here is another idea for your other issue... drill through the outer oak with a bit larger then what is needed by the hardware but is still within the limits of a set of plug cutters. This way if the swing ever comes down you can cut an oak plug to fill the hole??? Is this more in line with what you are asking?

Ed

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#487 by jsburger » Wed Sep 20, 2006 7:32 pm

timhaas wrote:Hi
I recently built a porch swing from plans on the ShopSmith site for my fiancee. It turned out great, but I am having trouble figuring out how to hang it properly. We just purchased the house built in 1923 and the front pourch has a beutiful oak tounge and grouve ceiling. I do not want to cut into it to gain access to the rafters. Would lag hooks screwed up into the ceiling be strong enough? I do not think they would be but I can not figure out anouther way to mount this unless I cut into the ceiling. If anyone would have any sugestions I would realy apriciate it. I want to get the swing hung by her birthday Oct 5th
Thanks again
Tim
Hi Tom,

People have been hanging porch swings with lag hooks probably since lag hooks were invented. I hung the one I made with 3/8 lag hooks. No problem so far. A house that old with T&G oak on the cieling very well may have oak rafters. They should hold lag hooks for ever. Just check them once a year to be sure they are secure and you should not have to wory.

---

John & Mary Burger
Eagle's Lair Woodshop
Hooper, UT

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#488 by Ed in Tampa » Thu Sep 21, 2006 11:34 am

jsburger wrote:Hi Tom,

People have been hanging porch swings with lag hooks probably since lag hooks were invented. I hung the one I made with 3/8 lag hooks. No problem so far. A house that old with T&G oak on the cieling very well may have oak rafters. They should hold lag hooks for ever. Just check them once a year to be sure they are secure and you should not have to wory.


True people have been hanging porch swings to porch rafters with lag hooks but there have been problems. If you don't believe me watch America's Funniest Video's almost every program has at least one swing letting loose.

First most porch rafters are 2x4's which aren't made to support much weight. Now weaken them by driving in some lag hooks put a couple of hundred pounds of human flesh and perhaps a few jumping kids and your set up for a disaster.

I saw a woman have her leg back under the swing when it let loose. All the weight fell on her leg. The pins, plates and surgry needed to enable her to limp for the rest of her life, all cost more than installing the swing right.

You have two choices either open the ceiling and install the swing on timber that is designed to support the potential loads or build a separate A frame support.

That is my opinion.

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#490 by timhaas » Thu Sep 21, 2006 3:10 pm

thank you for the ideas and I like the idea of being able to put a plug in later.
Tim

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#491 by jsburger » Thu Sep 21, 2006 6:46 pm

Ed in Tampa wrote:True people have been hanging porch swings to porch rafters with lag hooks but there have been problems. If you don't believe me watch America's Funniest Video's almost every program has at least one swing letting loose.

First most porch rafters are 2x4's which aren't made to support much weight. Now weaken them by driving in some lag hooks put a couple of hundred pounds of human flesh and perhaps a few jumping kids and your set up for a disaster.

I saw a woman have her leg back under the swing when it let loose. All the weight fell on her leg. The pins, plates and surgry needed to enable her to limp for the rest of her life, all cost more than installing the swing right.

You have two choices either open the ceiling and install the swing on timber that is designed to support the potential loads or build a separate A frame support.

That is my opinion.

America's Funniest Video's seeks out those videos. They are not shown because there is a problem, but, because they are "funny".

In a house that old, if they are 2x4's they are a full 2" by 4", not what we have today. The ceiling is tongue and groove oak. That distributes the waight on any rafter over many more.

---

John & Mary Burger
Eagle's Lair Woodshop
Hooper, UT

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#493 by Bruce » Thu Sep 21, 2006 11:56 pm

Maybe a 2x4 could support the weight. Maybe not. I'm not a structural engineer. Also, the wood could be rotted or termite damaged. On an old home like that I would certainly want to check that out.

I personally would not trust a lag screw for that kind of weight. Rather than lag screws, I would use an eye-bolt with machine screw threads and a big washer and lock nut. Also, to say the tongue and groove ceiling adds any real support is wishful thinking, in my opinion. I wanted to hang a lumber rack from the ceiling joists in my garage. The guy at Lowe's suggested that I tie into both the joists and the rafters for that kind of weight. If that is possible in this application, that would be the way to go, imho.

The idea of building an external frame for the swing is not a bad idea. It could then be easily moved to another location.

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#495 by Ed in Tampa » Fri Sep 22, 2006 2:02 am

jsburger wrote:America's Funniest Video's seeks out those videos. They are not shown because there is a problem, but, because they are "funny".

In a house that old, if they are 2x4's they are a full 2" by 4", not what we have today. The ceiling is tongue and groove oak. That distributes the waight on any rafter over many more.



Of course AFV seeks out these types of video but think for a moment. If it happens often enough to be caught on tape as often as AFV shows one of these swings pulling out, how often is it happening when nobody is video taping it?
Also AFV doesn't show any video where people are seriously injuryed so how many accidents have happened where people were seriously injury like the lady I saw. Imagine falling down like that, think what it could do to your spine alone.

I have seen more than one 2x4 rafter break with just one carpenter standing on it during house construction. Who knows where a knot is and boring into a 2x4 for the lag screw is going to weaken the lumber. Also as someone else mentioned perhaps there is insect or termite damage.

Since swings usually sit toward one end or another on a porch it should be relativity easy to pull enough of oak T&G loose to run some stretchers across the rafters and then used lag bolts with sizeable washers to anchor the swing.

Personally to me building an "A" frame similar to the type used for swing sets and using 4x4's or heavier timber to hang the swing from would be easy and cheap. Then there is no danger, the house is not damaged, the swing can be moved if desired.
Ed

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