Porch Swing of Hawaiian Koa

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Project by riverguy posted 12-18-2012 06:54 PM 10668 views 22 times favorited 22 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Porch Swing of Hawaiian Koa
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I built this porch swing about 12 years ago when I was living in Hawaii. It was a gift for my Lovely Bride and it has followed us through a number of moves, the last one being to our current home in Forestville, California. It again graces our deck, overlooking the yard. I made mine out of Hawaiian Koa. The frame pieces are African mahogany, but all the slats are Koa. I drilled and counterbored the screw holes and filled them with grain-matching Koa plugs, glued in with waterproof glue. The finish is Sikkens Cetol, a bulletproof finish that all us folks who lived right on the ocean used on anything wood that was to live outdoors. This swing spent most of its live right in the salt air directly from the ocean, plus Hawaii’s humidity and daily rain squalls. The finish started to show some stress about a year ago, so before packing it up for the move to CA, I sanded it down and refinished it with more Cetol. Now it’ll be good for at least another 15 years or so, not having to withstand any more salt air.

I got the plans for the swing through Wood Magazine. The plans are Better Homes and Gardens Wood Plans, “The Lazy Days Porch Swing, ” Item number OFS-#1002. The Web address is: Great, detailed plans with full-size templates for each piece.

-- Skip, Forestville, CA,

22 comments so far

View JCantin's profile


185 posts in 4698 days

#1 posted 12-18-2012 06:59 PM

Mine is identical, from the same plan, but in white oak. We don’t see too many projects in koa here but this one is drop dead gorgeous. You’ve inspired me to take mine down and give it some TLC over the winter. Mahalo!

View a1Jim's profile


118296 posts in 4863 days

#2 posted 12-18-2012 07:01 PM

A fine looking porch swing with amazing wood.


View Ken90712's profile


18081 posts in 4475 days

#3 posted 12-18-2012 07:07 PM

A real beauty! Love it and so cool to see how great it looks after 12 yrs! Well done.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30651 posts in 3624 days

#4 posted 12-18-2012 07:32 PM

Very beautiful project. I would hate to see what that much Koa would cost on this side of the ocean.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View tomakazi's profile


687 posts in 4569 days

#5 posted 12-18-2012 08:05 PM

very nice!! I love the koa! koa is the bacon of woods, it makes everything better! welcome to california! you’re in my neck of the woods. I just built a house in Forrestville and Ive done some windows for a local church involving stained glass a few years back!!

-- I didn't go to college, I was too busy learning stuff - Ted Nugent

View MonteCristo's profile


2099 posts in 3475 days

#6 posted 12-18-2012 08:17 PM

Very handsome !

-- Dwight - "Free legal advice available - contact Dewey, Cheetam & Howe""

View oakwood's profile


327 posts in 3356 days

#7 posted 12-18-2012 09:38 PM

The swing is beautiful. Glad that it is proving the test of time. Nice build and comfortable looking. Great job and thanks for the link.

View Surfside's profile


3389 posts in 3460 days

#8 posted 12-18-2012 09:41 PM

This just changed my mood! Nicely and incredibly done.

-- "someone has to be wounded for others to be saved, someone has to sacrifice for others to feel happiness, someone has to die so others could live"

View riverguy's profile


110 posts in 3350 days

#9 posted 12-18-2012 09:56 PM

Hey thanks for all the compliments! About that Koa, when I was living in Hawaii, I had a friend who had a deal going with one of the few mills licensed to harvest Koa. The deal was that he got to buy the trimmings, which were the outer pieces, with bark, that were the falls from when they milled logs into lumber. Not the best grade of Koa, but I paid $100 for a pickup load of it, and by selectively going through the load I managed to end up with lots of beautiful pieces of highly figured curly Koa. Since most of my work requires fairly small stuff, the pieces I ended up with, like up to 6/4×6 x 48’s on a good day, worked fine. I’m down in my inventory now to the point where i no longer make things out of Koa, but rather veneer things with Koa! I carefully resaw what I have left now!

Koa is a great wood to work with. As with most woods, though, there’s fine curly Koa and then there’s average boring koa, some of which looks amazingly like African mahogany. In Hawaii, most galleries want proof of where you got your Koa, since there’s alot of illegal cutting and selling goring on.

-- Skip, Forestville, CA,

View WoodenFrog's profile


2737 posts in 4199 days

#10 posted 12-18-2012 11:33 PM

So, So, Much Beauty!
Just Wonderful!

-- Robert B. Sabina, Ohio.....

View hhhopks's profile


663 posts in 3664 days

#11 posted 12-19-2012 12:32 AM

Beatiful bench swing.
Job well done.

I had built but had never hang it up.
My wife had bugging me about an arbor swing…...

-- I'll be a woodworker when I grow up. HHHOPKS

View riverguy's profile


110 posts in 3350 days

#12 posted 12-19-2012 12:41 AM

hhhopks, would you like my wife to give your wife some lessons in effective “bugging?” My wife’s porch swing was up and running in short order! :)

-- Skip, Forestville, CA,

View lumberjoe's profile


2902 posts in 3535 days

#13 posted 12-19-2012 01:36 AM

I love working with Koa, but in my neck of the woods, it is EXPENSIVE. A pen blank size piece of curly Koa runs me about 8.00. I am super jealous. that ’s an awesome bench.


View Hawaiilad's profile


3382 posts in 4307 days

#14 posted 12-19-2012 04:50 AM

Very nice looking swing. Made from Koa I can understand why it has lasted so long. Glad to hear you are happy in Calif, but sorry to loose another person form the Islands. I also love working with Koa and would say it’s the most popular wood asked for when I am making boxes, trivets etc. I also have a logger friend that sells mill ends and split boards to me at wholesale prices…need to pick up more tomorrow in fact.

-- Larry in Hawaii,

View riverguy's profile


110 posts in 3350 days

#15 posted 12-19-2012 05:32 AM

Aloha, Hawaiilad! A few years ago nobody could have convinced me that I’d be back in CA after a wonderful 19 years on the BI. But I’m 75 and hardly ever got to see my too-fast-growing-up grandkids, so here I am, freezing my haole butt off, but the happy warmth of those little ones make up for it. I know I’m gonna miss that traditional dip in the ocean on Christmas and New Years day . . .

Mele Kalikimaka!

-- Skip, Forestville, CA,

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