Home & Garden

Swing Into Summer

A Virginia company revives two nostalgic Southern favorites

Whether you grew up with a tire swing that provided the perfect vehicle to splash into a swimming hole or a wooden tree swing that created its own breeze on the front lawn, swings are a mainstay of Southern summer. “It’s good, old-fashioned fun,” says Chris Conklin, the owner and artisan behind Charlottesville, Virginia–based Vintage Swings, which produces both tire swings and traditional wooden swings.

Conklin’s approach is to give these toys a throwback feel. To that end, he uses new reproductions of 1940s tractor tires for his tire swings, and super-strong, weather-resistant synthetic rope that mimics the twisted braids of old-fashioned Manila hemp.

Photo: Jen Fariello

A tire swing.

Long-term exterior use, in fact, influences all of Conklin’s material choices for his single and double wooden swings, too. He’s found that white oak is better able to withstand rot, insects, and extreme weather than even cedar or redwood. He coats the oak in Spar varnish—typically used as a boat finish—because it will expand and contract, in heat and cold, along with the wood. The hardware is only stainless-steel, so it will neither rust nor cause infections when bored into a tree.

Photo: Jen Fariello

A double swing.

The only thing you have to worry about is finding the right spot to hang them.

Swings range in price from $165 to $325. Expect three weeks for delivery. To place an order, visit vintageswings.com.