DIY Porch Glider

Build outdoor furniture with slip-joint plumbing.


| May/June 1984


In Build a Replica Antique Pie Safe, we featured a design for an old-timey pie safe offered to us by The Family Workshop. For the spring season, the Oklahoma-based outfit has worked up this plastic-pipe porch glider, which the Workshop folks feel will have as much appeal to MOTHER EARTH NEWS readers as it did to the fans of their own crafts books and syndicated newspaper columns. 

If front porches were made for lazy spring and summer evenings, then gliders were made for front porches . . . and though it may seem that the swinging settee has gone the way of Rhett and Scarlett, there's no reason why you can't rediscover its pleasures by re-creating this leisure lounge, using modern materials.

I'd suspect that the earliest gliders were made of hardwoods, which eventually gave way to steel with the onslaught of mass production. But our updated version consists mainly of plastic plumbing pipe (polyvinyl chloride, or PVC for short), which has the admirable qualities of strength, workability, reasonable cost, and universal availability.

There are, however, a few important things you ought to know about the components before you get into the "swing" of things. First off, there are seven different formulations of plastic pipe, only two of which—PVC and its chlorinated cousin, CPVC—will be used for this project. (Each is available in a rigid, thick-wall design that is ideal for furniture building.)

Second, like conventional steel pipe, PVC is measured—nominally—by its internal diameter . . . but the outside dimension of similarly sized plastic pipe remains the same, regardless of the thickness of its wall. Theoretically, this allows the fittings in each size group to share the same inside diameter . . . but don't count on it: Minor tolerance differences between various manufacturers' hardware make it necessary to prefit the pipe and fittings prior to purchase. If a joint is too sloppy (or excessively tight), it would be advisable to try another fitting.

While on the subject of joints, be aware that you can build disassembly capability into this piece of furniture by locking the unions with self-tapping metal screws rather than cement. But should you choose to go the permanent (and far stronger) route, the mating surfaces must be prepared by roughing them lightly with fine sandpaper or steel wool (or cleaning them with plastic pipe primer) before they're chemically welded together. It is equally important to use the correct primer and cement for the type of pipe you're working with, since PVC and CPVC each use specific solvents. Moreover, once the mating surfaces are bonded, they're joined for good . . . so be careful not to paint yourself into a corner, so to speak, by gluing an assembly together without a trial fit. You may discover that the last section of pipe cannot be squeezed between two fittings, no matter how hard you try.





mother earth news fair 2018 schedule

MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR

Next: April 28-29, 2018
Asheville, NC

Whether you want to learn how to grow and raise your own food, build your own root cellar, or create a green dream home, come out and learn everything you need to know — and then some!

LEARN MORE



Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price

Money-Saving Tips in Every Issue!

Mother Earth NewsAt MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.

Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
International Subscribers - Click Here
Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST).


Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter flipboard


Copyright 2018, All Rights Reserved
Ogden Publications, Inc., 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, Kansas 66609-1265