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I purchased one of those indoor hanging swing chairs for kids, specifically this one, which is meant to be mounted in the ceiling with a single eye bolt. shop image I want to hang this in a 38" space, between wall and bookshelf. This is pretty tight, so I need to mount pretty much in the middle. After finding the joists using a studfinder I found they are 24" apart in pretty much the worst place, a few inches near each side of the 38" space. In fact, directly between them is pretty much dead center.

My question is what options I might have to hang this swing (single strap) between the joists?

One idea is to attach a board between (what size? Attached how?). I do have access to the attic, there is some kind of loose insulation up there.

Another idea is to attach two eye bolts of some kind to the joists on each side and suspend with some kind of strap between, but again not sure the hardware I should use to do that.

Any suggestions are welcome. Thanks!

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    Albeit off-topic, I'd like to mention how all the photos of that product are photoshopped; terribly. There is zero chance that the opening is going to remain open as shown in the pictures. Based on some basic principles of physics, that child should be completely cocooned in that thing and will struggle to get out. You will probably want to cut a circular piece of 3/4 inch plywood and round off the edges to provide some rigid support where the child is sitting. Seems like a death trap based on the reviews too. – MonkeyZeus Mar 16 at 12:17
  • @MonkeyZeus Yeah, it's a sketchy product. It also comes with an expansion bolt and incredibly vague instructions that claims you can use it inside in child's room. Fortunately I did a google and realized I should not put an expansion bolt in wood! It does come with a circular inflatable cushion to account for the issue you mention, but the photos are clearly photoshopped... we'll see how well it works, it does have good reviews. – Aaron Beall Mar 16 at 18:04
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    Those good reviews are often faked. Note that this thing is off the "Amazon Marketplace" flea market, which is a step down from eBay... it is not a reputable product selected and listed by Amazon the company. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Mar 16 at 21:35
  • None of the hardware in the photo looks like anything I would use in an application that had human life safety factors. Eyes have to be at least welded shut but it would be preferable to use an investment cast. Something along these lines: fisheriessupply.com/… – Eric Lippert Mar 18 at 16:54
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You've hit on three viable options. I'll make some notes on each so you can decide.

Run a cleat across the gap

  • Requires perhaps the most damage to the finished ceiling, but simple and fairly easy
  • A 2x6 laid flat against the ceiling will carry the weight just fine (avoid boards with large knots)
  • Four 3-1/2" by 3/8" lag screws, properly piloted into the ceiling joists, will carry well.

Run backing in the attic

  • Least visible option, but most challenging due to attic work
  • Use a 2x4 oriented vertically (like the ceiling joists) between the trusses
  • Anchor with substantial lag screws and also consider laying another board across the top of everything, connecting that with lags or 3" construction screws
  • Locate the eye bolt carefully so you're anchored well

Span between two eye bolts with chain

  • Probably the simplest and quickest option, but most likely to cause issued in your drywall such as nearby screw pops since it puts the most lateral stress on the ceiling joists
  • To reduce lateral force which could bend or move your eye bolts (potentially shifting the ceiling joists), run your chain or cable down far enough so you have an angle less than 45 degrees to vertical, and consider using a rigid bar between the chains near the ceiling to direct force to vertical
  • Hang on both chains with an S-hook or proper carabiner (not a novelty item)
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    For me #3, if I was new to DIY, it would be the double eye. A trip to the local hardware store to get 2 matched screw eyes or screw hooks and a length of chain to run through the supplied carabiner, problem solved. The black strap would not be needed – Jack Mar 15 at 21:52
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    Thanks, these notes really help! Leaning towards #3, factoring in wife's aesthetic veto of a board on the ceiling. :) Probably a dumb question, but what kind of chain is recommended here? – Aaron Beall Mar 15 at 22:19
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    You can have a flatiron carry the lateral forces, since they will in regular use, cancel out. Have the swing from the center of the flatiron - hang the flatiron from short chains and eyes in the two studs. Not visually pleasing but easy on the roof and easy to mount. – Stian Yttervik Mar 16 at 9:44
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    The lateral stress on #3 would be insane. You could be pulling thoses joists together with 1000 lb. of force. There is simply nothing there capable of bearing that force. The flatiron would correct this, if the load is centered. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Mar 16 at 12:53
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    I don't think so. Assuming a load of under 200 lbs, and the angle I described, lateral load would be less than 50 lb per side (with occasional pulses of 2-3 times that). – isherwood Mar 16 at 12:55
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I vote for the solution of providing blocking in the attic but will suggest a technique which is very much easier to install than some of the other answers here. A side on looking picture will get the idea across quickly.

enter image description here

First trip to the attic to access the situation should include making measurements for spacing between the ceiling joists and the vertical height of the joists. Back in your workshop cut the wood pieces to the proper lengths and preassemble the two pieces of wood together using piloted sturdy screws or lag bolts. Also pre-drill the clearance holes in the ends of the upper piece.

As someone else already suggested make a hole in the ceiling where you want the eye bolt from below to be located so you can know where the install the wood assembly.

In the last trip to the attic you can easily install the wood assembly simply by screwing down into the top of the joist. This is much easier than trying to install the blocking by screwing or nailing through the sides of the joists. It also is much gentler on the fasteners that hold up the existing ceiling material.

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  • Good suggestion, but be sure that things fit well. Any gaps at the ends or play side-to-side will allow movement when the swing shifts. That force could do some damage. – isherwood Mar 16 at 17:54
  • @isherwood - I totally agree that the fit should be snug between the joists. I edited the picture to reflect this. As originally drawn I was trying to show the different parts of wood distinctly but that was before I decided to add colors. – Michael Karas Mar 16 at 19:42
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    With 24" between the joists, it should be no problem to access the sides of the joists; you'll just need to clear away a little more insulation. This is both the strongest and cleanest solution, and it wouldn't be that much more trouble to add nails/screws in the ends of the blocking for extra stability. – Dan A. Mar 16 at 19:52
  • Note also that once you have the dimension correct, you can b uild most of this on the workbench. That said, I'd put a couple nails or screws down low to keep it from rocking. Otherwise those green nails will just bend, and you'll have a rocking-chair hinge there. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Mar 16 at 22:20
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    @Harper - If you read my posting you will see that I already mentioned preassembly in the workshop. – Michael Karas Mar 16 at 22:50
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Just get a couple of joist hangers and add a 2x6 between your joists. Drill a small hole in the ceiling where you want the eye bolt first and poke a wire hanger through to help locate it from above.

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    Be aware that banging on ceiling joists to mount hangers is likely to tear out drywall screws. Use load-rated screws if possible, or temporarily screw a brace across four joists to stabilize. – isherwood Mar 16 at 12:49
  • The comment about load-rated screws means to NOT use drywall screws, they are prone to shearing because they are hardened steel. – boatcoder Mar 18 at 13:34
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Easiest is probably to attach a piece of wood to the surface of the ceiling screwed into the joists with structural screws. 2x4 would be fine here as the load is only about 80kg

Even painted to match the room that's not going to look particularly good

best would be to put 2x4 blocking between the joists and attach to that. that's going to be messy dealing with the loose insulation and there won't be much room to swing a hammer up there, but if you can get in there with a nail gun or some long screws to secure the blocking that'll work.

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  • Thanks. I was leaning towards the board on the outside but that got shot down by the wife. I'll take another look in the attic but it looked pretty dicey for my lack of experience. – Aaron Beall Mar 15 at 22:21
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Another idea is to attach two eye bolts of some kind to the joists on each side and suspend with some kind of strap between, but again not sure the hardware I should use to do that.

These solutions work but be careful and do the math:

enter image description here

People naively think that if there are two straps then 50% of the weight is held by each strap, but the amount of tension in each strap, and therefore the force on the joists, is both down and inward. If the angles are, say, 45 and 45 degrees at the top and 90 degrees at the connection to the chair, each strap holds 70% of the total weight, not 50%. In the diagram the angles at the top are 30 degrees and each strap holds 100% of the weight.

If the angles at the top get less than 30 degrees then you can quickly get into a situation where the tension in the straps and bolts is more than 100% of the weight applied; it can be arbitrarily high. Remember, tension is not a conserved quantity; you can always make more.

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  • I'd love to upvote this answer for the detail, but have to downvote it for practicality - unless you have very high ceilings, this is not going to be an effective solution. – Mike Brockington Mar 17 at 11:01
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    @MikeBrockington: Well I have such a setup in my house to suspend some equipment, and I do not have particularly high ceilings, so I'm not sure I follow your point about impracticality. Moreover, the original poster suggested this course of action; my post describes how to do the math to ensure that you're not making the situation worse by attempting to spread load incorrectly. The OP would not have made the suggestion had it been impractical. – Eric Lippert Mar 17 at 16:38
  • Is your equipment heavy? The whole point of your talk about angles vs tension is that for double suspension to be effective, the load has to be relatively low. I would suggest that "strong enough to support a child of any age, plus the additional force of them bouncing around" is 'quite high', so unless you have a ceiling high enough to make the angles quite small, this isn't going to be a good solution for this specific case. – Mike Brockington Mar 18 at 9:31
  • @MikeBrockington: It is heavy and has human safety implications; I did the math to make sure it was safe. That's the point of this answer: that you need to know how to do the math to determine whether you're within a reasonable safety factor. (And speaking of safety factors, the hardware pictured in the OP's photo does not look like anything I would use in an application that had human life safety factors.) – Eric Lippert Mar 18 at 16:51
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My suggested solution is hidden blocking in the ceiling. From below, put a small hole where you want to connection so that from above you can locate where to place the block.

In the attic, install a 2x4 (about 22-1/2" long) between the trusses, centered over the hole you made, and tight to the ceiling dry wall. Screw through the trusses into the ends of the block with (2) 3" #8 screws each end.

Use screws instead of nails, it'll be easier, won't jar things around, and will be stronger. You can pre-drill the trusses for the screws to make it easier (the size of the shank without the treads).

Attach with an eyebolt from below through the hole that you made

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