How we hang our swings...
Over the years lots of people have asked us about the best way to hang an Oak & Rope swing. With this in mind, we thought we’d put together a few ideas on how you could approach this so you can really enjoy your swing. These are just our thoughts, and how you do it is really up to you, but here's our guide for hanging a rope swing from a tree!
Choosing a position for your swing:
Find a branch on a living tree that’s at least 10-15cm (4-6in) in diameter (note: fruit trees are more brittle, so should be thicker). Ideally, the branch will be as high and as horizontal as possible; an even swinging action requires both ropes be a similar length.
The swing should be installed at least 1-1.5m (3-5ft) away from the trunkof the tree (see below). We also tend to hang our swings at approximately 1m (3ft) above ground level. However, this measurement does, of course, depend on who will be using the swing.
Consider the height & branch:
Once you’ve decided on your optimum seat height, be sure to install the swing about 20-30cm (8-12in) HIGHER than you would like it to end up; the rope will stretch a bit during the first use.
If your branch is very high, we recommend using a tree surgeon (tree-guy) to do the job for you; they have the appropriate kit for climbing and seem to love hanging swings!
If you can’t find a suitable branch, consider installing an artificial ‘branch’ in the form of a round post, suspended (tied/bolted) between two trees (see below); or tied/bolted between two branches on a single tree (search online for more in-depth examples).
Getting your rope length right:
We supply our medium and small swings with 6m (20ft) of rope and the large and couples’ swings with 8m (26ft) as standard. Most of the time this is an ample amount, though should you need more, we can make your swing with longer ropes. If you order online you can order additional rope here.
We also find it looks quite lovely if any spare rope is simply wrapped around the branch (particularly if you’ve chosen to tie the rope directly to the tree).
Attaching your rope:
ONE OPTION is to tie the rope directly to the tree. We recommend using a ‘swing hitch’ knot (see below). This is a great knot, as it is self-tightening when the swing is in use, but when the load is released the hitch can easily be adjusted or untied if required.
We have been asked if tieing the rope directly to the tree may cause damage to the branch over time. However, the 100% natural manila rope that we use is very gentle; in our own installations, we have not noticed any damage.
ANOTHER OPTION is to drill a threaded eye bolt into the branch and attach a carabiner (see below). This is safest for the tree, but requires some tools.
Eye bolts & carabiners can be purchased on our web site.
1) Using an 8mm drill bit, drill two guide holes into the underside of your branch, 5-8cm (2-3in) deep;
2) Screw the eye bolts into the holes;
3) Knot the rope onto the carabiners making sure you've tied the knots so the seat hangs level.
What is the best knot for a rope swing?
The swing hitch knot is a great knot for rope swings. It is self-tightening, which means that it will never come undone when the swing is in use. When not in use, the knot will be slightly looser, allowing for faster removal. The double-bowline knot is also a popular choice, but we recommend the swing hitch.
'WE MAKE THE THINGS WE WISH EXISTED.'
The Oak & Rope journey started with a swing. I needed a last-minute present for a friend and the rope-splicing skills I was taught by my Grandfather suddenly came in handy. I wanted to be a carpenter ever since my parents built our home, so I have always been tinkering with wood, but I had no idea where it would lead when I shyly carried the engraved swing seat into that party all those years ago!
I become rather philosophical when I talk about our swings. There’s the serendipity of how I came to make the first one; the way working the rope becomes a form of meditation as I measure out the lengths, pull out the strands, and weave them back together again in a beautiful pattern of incredible strength.
When the rope gets tangled it’s a bit like life... to sort it you have to keep your calm and just unravel it, one knot at a time!
Wooden swings are naturally unique and will develop different characteristics de- pending on their particular environment.
A bit like humans really...
We use super prime, kiln-dried, European oak and each piece is expertly selected by our craftsmen. The designs are generously proportioned and remain structurally strong, despite any superficial imperfections that may emerge.
Our swings can be left to their own devices outside due to the naturally high levels of tannin in the wood. They will turn silvery when exposed to sun and rain. Some of our customers even ask us not to apply any oil so that their swings can weather more quickly.
The swings continue to evolve as they reach equilibrium with their environment. We have used only the best building blocks and given them our utmost care, yet they might go through a stage we don’t love so much. This is when cracks come and go, and some cracks will stay. Dare we say teenage years? We like to refer to this as the "ugly duckling" stage before they settle and become part of their new setting.
Depending on the surroundings and conditions, the uniqueness eventually shines through and the cracks and imperfections become part of their beauty...
It might be that you have bought a swing as a nostalgic memory, trying to recreate a moment of calm from the past. To me, a swing represents my intention to live a life better balanced between work and play. The gentle swinging motion definitely has a calming effect in a world of stress and pressure.
You can’t push these swings with a smartphone in your hand, they require your full attention and they become the perfect place to share special moments.
We hope your swing will be your happy place, a place for both priceless giggles and important chats, creating precious memories of the future!