"Swings like Uncle Joe used to make."
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History of Bankston Swing Company | How to hang your swing. | Proper care and maintenance

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THE BANKSTONS AND THE HISTORY OF THE BANKSTON SWING

The children of Joel and Sara Bankston, all born in Upson Co, GA., were a durable, God-fearing lot. Ellen and Joel are pictured above with 9 of their siblings in Griffin, GA., in 1931. From L to R, with their final ages in parentheses, are (front row) - Jim (91), Burma (78), Ellen (92), Lucy (89), Howard (91), Henry (93), Sallie (90): and (back row) - Joel (97), Hugh (74), Emmett (78), and Lillian (91).
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THE HISTORY

In 1934, my mother's mother, Ellen Bankston Dasher, moved to a small 4-room farmhouse near . Ft. Valley, GA. "Mama Dasher", as she was affectionately known to us, was soon visited by a brother, Joel Bankston, Jr., who we called "Uncle Joe". He owned a blacksmith shop in McDonough.

On his next visit to see Mama Dasher, Uncle Joe brought her an oak swing he had made for her porch. It is uncertain where he got his design, but it is a classic. The chain brackets were a special design fashioned in his blacksmith shop.
Shortly, after Mama Dasher hung her swing, a visiting nephew and his wife from Perry, were so impressed, they asked Uncle Joe to build them one. This was the second, and what we beleive to be the last, "Bankston Swing"......until now!*

In 1988, I decided to build a Bankston Swing for my family. I took the original, now at my parents' summer cottage at Lake Waccamaw, N.C., to my father-in-law's shop and copied it as accurately as possible ------- the contour, the angles, the lengths,etc. My efforts paid off, and I ended up with a great swing.
Several years went by and I found myself often looking at my swing and wondering, "What if . . .". Finally, in 1994, I took the big step. I resigned my USDA job of 17+ years to start Bankston Swing Co. My goals for the company are: to share the Bankston Swing with the world, and, yes, to make a lot of money!

                ---Walter Bankston High
*In compiling this brief history, I learned from one of Uncle Joe's grandsons, Joel B. Bankston of McDonough, GA., that Uncle Joe had made one other swing that he knew of, a "plank" swing that he had made for himself, which hung on his front porch in McDonough.

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HOW TO PROPERLY HANG YOUR BANKSTON SWING

  1. Locate the center of the beam from which you wish to hang your swing.  If the beam is not visible, it can be found using a "stuf finder" or some other technique.
  2. Position your swing as desired, then, with a drill or hammer and nail, create a small pilot hole for the screweyes included with your chain.  You will want a tight fit for the screweyes, so be careful not to make the pilot hole too large.  Remember that the distance between the screweyes should be the design length of your swing plus 4 inches (standard armrests) or 6 inches (3 1/2 inch armrests).  The table below should give you the correct distance
  3. Place the large "s" hooks in the screweyes.  If you have purchased a set of swing springs, then attach the springs to the large "s" hooks.
  4. Hang the chain from the large s" hooks or the springs, with the bottom of the chain hanging approximately 24" above the floor/ground.  This should be very close to the proper hanging height of your swing.
  5. Now place the bottom lengths of each piece of chain in the small "s" hooks that have been attached to the chain brackets in your swing.  The longest part of the "Y" part of the chain goes to the back of the swing.  This portion is only about 1 and 1/2 inches longer than the other part.  It is very important to make all height adjustments from the top of the chain.
  6. Now, with a pair of channel-lock plyers, crimp close the top of each of the small "s" hooks attached to the swing brackets.  This is an important step for safety reasons, and should not be overlooked.
  7. Finally, "Experience your swing!!"...and, if you have the energy, call and let us know what you really think.
HANGING WIDTH CHART
SWING WIDTH
WITH STANDARD ARMRESTS
WITH 3 1/2 INCH ARMRESTS
3'
3'4" (40")
3'6" (42")
3'6"
3'10" (46")
4" (48")
4'
4'4" (52")
4'6" (54")
4'6"
4'10" (58")
5" (60")
5'
5"4" (64")
5'6" (66")
5'6"
5'10" (70")
6' (72")
6'
6'4" (76")
6'6" (78")



SWING SAFETY FEATURES:

The Chain hangs so that the "Y" junction is a full 30" above the armrest. This "High Y" feature translates into Greater Stability.
The Deep contour in the seat serves to "Cradle" infants, toddlers, and small children. It is difficult to roll out of the swing while lying down.
The high back offers additional security from falls over the back of the swing. The safety here can be greatly enhanced by adding a small screweye on both sides of the swing at the top (see detail) and connecting a small chain from each screweye to the chain, as shown at the left.

Corners (see arrows) are rounded and sanded in order to prevent cuts and scrapes.

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PROPER CARE AND MAINTANENCE

Your Bankston Swing comes to you unfinished and ready for the right treatment you want. If properly protected and maintained, your Bankston Swing will provide years of relaxing and dependable comfort. Below you will find some suggestions on how to properly treat and care for your swing under both "covered" and "fully exposed" conditions. WE ALSO ENCOURAGE YOU TO SEEK ADVICE FROM SOMEONE WHOE'S JUDGEMENT YOU TRUST.

COVERED: (Porch, gazebo, covered deck, etc.)

In a covered position, your swing will likely still be partially exposed to the elements. Since the swing is not made of treated wood, the wood must be properly "sealed". This can be done by using a good quality wood sealer.

If a painted finish is desired, you should use a quality brand paint, and apply it according to the recommendations given on the label. In most cases, a primer coat will be recommended. The coat helps "seal" the wood and condition it for the top or finished coat. We suggest that an oil-based paint or a high quality exterior latex paint be used - - - on that is mildew-resistant.

If it is a "natural grain" look you want, you may wish to use a quality stain or stain/sealer combination such as that made by Minwax. A clear stain/sealer will slightly "yellow" the pine wood and help bring out the wood grain. Naturally, a colored stain is another very acceptable treatment with a number of colors available.

Whatever your treatment, you may want to apply several coats of a polyurethane, a satin marine spar varnish, or a spar urethane. Check to see that any product you use as an "overcoat" will resist any tolerance to "blister" or "yellow" over time.

FULLY-EXPOSED: (yard, open, pier, uncovered deck, etc.)

First of all, it is our recommendation that a protective cover be placed over our swing. Although the construction of a cover or a covered frame adds to the expense of the project, it also may add years to the effective life of the swing. A cover also makes the swing more "inviting", even during the hottest portion of the day or during a gentle rain.

Carefully choose a treatment that includes either a colored stain, a high quality exterior paint, or a spar urethane or marine spar varnish (if it is the "natural wood" look you desire). Prior to any of the above treatments, we suggest that the swing be treated with penetrating sealer-type product over which one can successfully apply a surface treatment. Caution: in considering polyurethanes - - - - they have a tendancy to "blister" over time, especially if exposed to a direct sunlight.

Due to constant exposure to the elements, particular care should be taken to apply any desire treatment thoroughly and evenly. The is crucial where slats are secured to their supports. Special care should be taken to check the swing regularly for maintenance needs, due to chipped paint or other such blemishes that may occur. Consider taking down and properly storing your swing in these settings when it is not in use for long periods, due to weather conditions (winter) or your absense from the site.

NOTE: We do not recommend the use of water-sealers like Thompsons or other silimar brands. These sealers are made mainly for uses on wood surfaces that are not subject to other surface treatments. Once these sealers are applied to wood, other treatments are practically impossible to successfully apply.

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You may order your Bankston Swing by writing to:
Bankston Swing Co.
P. O. Box 2389
Rockingham, N.C. 28380
or by calling TOLL-FREE: 1-800-YO-SWING (1-800-967-9464)

Charge it!

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History of Bankston Swing Company | How to hang your swing. | Proper care and maintenance

BANKSTON SWING HOME PAGE

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