•• INDIAN-STYLED, POOL-SIDE DAY-BED SWING – Project build Part 1.


Making a swing bed from two repurposed palettes...

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• So: you take a couple of palettes, hammer them together, cut-up another couple to make a back for them – and "Tina's your Aunt'... Right…?


Doesn’t sound TOO complicated and it shouldn't take more than about 10 hours max. of work with a saw, an electric screwdriver, a big 'thumper' and a bit of shoving here, pushing there, pulling – wherever etc.

Well, that was my initial intention: and then – somehow (the God[s] only know HOW, exactly) – what originally seems like a simple project suddenly started to sprout ‘Angel's Wings’ and take-on the dimensions of a Da Vinci creation Directed by Cecil B DeMille...


(Not QUITE that creative – however: but, I'm sure ya'all get the point...!'

 

• It must be an "Aries thing' – like having Foot-in-Mouth-Disease...
Nothing – but NOTHING can EVER seem to remain firmly anchored within simplicity and always seems to become more-and-more 'evolved': read 'complex', ‘convoluted’, ‘grandiose’ and generally OTT...

 

• I already had the two palettes – which, ironically, out of some 18 or so that I'd collected from various resources, were the ONLY two that actually were 'identical' in size and configuration...!

(WHY are all palettes somehow different...? Obvious answer: different loads – though more-or-less standardised to 1.2 m x 1m – can, on the other end of the scale, be a ‘small as 1.0 x 0.8m etc or even 1.5 x 1m… PLUS they also exist with different plank spacings – according to the density of the product being shifted aboard them…)

Anyway…

Apart from a lot of various off-cuts from previous projects, I also had – by happenstance – a couple of 2.2m long x 7cm square-section rather nice Douglas Pine beams that had been lying around my garage for yonks and so were now available to be integrated in a useful manner.

So these became ‘tie-beams’ that ran along the outside of the palettes and were screwed-and-glued-and-clamped to the platform planks – so as to provide a solid connection between the two units: as well as being bolted in four places to the actual palette’s spacing-supports, underneath.

Then I asked myself what I could do for the “sides” and found a lovely old piece of Piranha pine from way back in Time that was 4cms thick and 1.7m long…

Originally – applying the “Kiss Principle”, I had thought to just cut the arm-rest side-pieces as straight sections to the same depth as the palettes – 120 cms – and “bang ‘em onto a couple of posts screwed to the palette’s outside edge…

As I started to measure-out these side sections, I remember distinctly having a ‘flash’ vision of some chair-arms I had experienced in an old colonial hotel in Colombo called the Gale Face, Sri Lanka – back in the ‘80’s whilst returning from making a Tea Doco up in the plantations around Nurwa Elia…

These arm-rests had been sort-of ‘shaped’ – so that when ensconced in the chairs, one’s fore-arms quite naturally rested on them whilst more-or-less following the contour…

At their ends had been cut a rounder shape which had been designed to accept a ‘Sundown Snifter’ – and I could so easily remember watching the sunset over the Indian Ocean whilst swirling the ice-cubes around in such a cut-glass ‘snifter’ filled with a decent-sized G--T and batting away the mozzies under the slowly moving fans animated by a ‘PunkaWallah’…

(Yeah – they still existed in those days: though more for the Tourists to think of themselves as ‘genuine Colonials’ than for the practicality of the draft created...)

Moving along…

So what happened..?

Of COURSE: I had to try and reproduce this concept – (the rounded bits – not the Punkawallahs!) – and so designed the arms accordingly.

 

Then – somehow – the idea of fixing these onto a couple of posts roughly screwed-into the sides of the palettes just didn’t seem aesthetically “right” or even congruent…

… So this then occasioned getting out the Router and gouging out some 4cm deep holes into which four additional pieces of 7 x 7cm Pine scrap were heavily glued – liberally squeezing-in the same vinyl glue as was used to consolidate the side beams to the top (seating) planks.

Basically, I ALWAYS screw AND glue… (No double-entendres intended..!)

 

• Once the sides were done – (though already 5 or six hours ‘over budget’ by this time at about 20 hours logged so far) – it also just didn’t seem ‘right’ to hack-around a couple of other palettes to make the backs…

… Which is when the little Monkey on my shoulder started to whisper “Why don’t you cut-out a Queen-Ann styled motif for the back from the rest of that lovely pine..?”

What to do…?

The idea germinated and using a cardboard matrix cut-out to the desired, free-hand drawn design, I drafted-out half of the shape and cut it out of the wood using a jigsaw – then flipped the matrix over to give myself the mirror image…

Ummm… Bummer… However, the pine was only 1m 60 wide – and the whole back-piece needed to be nearer 1m 90.

“OK… No problem: you can add some wings to it on each side” – said the Monkey Voice…

Sure… Why not…? But how to attach them..?

Solution: cut a 2cm channel out of each thickness and having inserted a couple of tongues made of 5mm ply, these were stuck-into the grooves using a combination of fine sawdust mixed with vinyl glue and just pure glue.

Solid clamping assured that the front-and-back surfaces were planiform: …and, after drying, such “tongue-and-groove” joints are generally VERY solid.

• Next issue: how to make the back supports…

Again, using scrap timber, a suitable shape was cut-out of some cardboard to make another matrix that could then be transferred to the wood and the ensuing shape pencilled-around prior to jig-saw cutting…

The two main, central supports needed to be slotted-into grooves that had been routed-out from the top planks of the palette and have a ‘heel’ added – so as to give additional structural stability.

 

The other two supports – designed to be placed exactly on the join where the back-boards ‘wings’ had been stuck to the main segment, were an easier fit and didn’t, I felt, require a similar heel – as the mechanical dynamics were different with less weight-stress likely on the edges than at the centre.

 

• By this time I was up to around 70 logged hours and all that remained was a LOT of sand-papering to smooth everything down and then to varnish.

Three coats of water-based Gel varnish were used and – VOILA – that was THAT…!

A “Hepplewhite” or a “Chippendale” it is not…

And neither is it the Indian Durbah-styled Charpoi that I had originally imagined.

However, as a hybrid to swing from two 20cm square-section beams under the roof of the Gazebo, I would suggest that it’s not too shoddy a result…

The chains – anchored in each corner of the unit using “Piggy-Tail”, 16cm x 10mm Diameter screw-ins – are capable of carrying 225kgs each – so a total of 900 kgs or so.

The Swing structure on its own ‘feels’ like it weighs around 100kgs – so there is plenty of leeway for a couple of super heavies to lounge around on it… (Should they just happen-by…)

The addition of (4) Hammock Springs from Amazon will give the whole contraption a bit of up-and-down ‘bounce’…

The Charpoi – because that’s what I think of it as being – will be attached to a single point on the supporting beams by the two chains rising upwards from each side corner: in this manner, the momentum of the unit – once set into “swing-mode” – should be enough to keep it rollicking along for a decent amount of time…

(Always providing it doesn’t bring the Gazebo crashing down..!!)

• Now just waiting for the three Doggie cushions – ordered on eBay – to sit above a semi-dense foam under-cushion of 190 x 110 x 5cm thick: …and, of course, the installation of the two beams.

• Budget/ Costs:
– Palettes – Free
– Wood – repurposed – Free
– Screws, Vinyl Glue, SandPaper disks, SandPaper bands, 1.25 litres Gel Varnish, Paint Brush, Wood Filler – around €50.00
– Piggy Tail supports and (4) x 2.5 m lengths of Stainless Steel chain: €90.00
– Hammock Springs, x (4): €48.00
– Doggie Cushions / washable covers, each 100 x 65 x 15 cms, x (3): €98.00
– Foam underlay – 200 x 120 x 5cms – cut down to size: €32.00
– Support Beams – 3.5m x 20cms Square Section, x (2): €40.00
– Support Beam Eye-Bolt fixtures + heavy-duty Carabineers: €26.00
– Total – approximately: €384.00

• Final, installed images in Part 2…!