Building a Thos. Moser Design New Gloucester Rocking Chair #11: Assembling the Lower Half of the Rocking Chair

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Blog entry by DustyMark posted 12-29-2012 05:22 AM 3971 reads 1 time favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 10: Designing and Cutting the Rocker Part 11 of Building a Thos. Moser Design New Gloucester Rocking Chair series Part 12: Flushing the Seat Tenon »

Watch This Video!

Follow this link to a 13-minute, real-time video of the glue-up of one rocker assembly. Note: I made one mistake during the assembly. I clamped the legs after having tapped wedges in place. I should have applied clamp pressure before tapping the wedges in place. The tenons made good contact, so it didn’t matter.

Prepare to Assemble

I use Gorilla Glue to perform complex chair assemblies. It’s quite messy, but allows more time to align parts before the glue sets.

It’s good to have all the parts organized before starting the glue-up. Pre-cut the dowels, wedges, and kerfs. Have the brace holes drilled and the proper screws handy. I use a Frisbee to hold the small parts!

Apply glue to the seat hole.

Apply glue to the rocker hole.

Spray some water on the tenon. This will help activate the glue. Polyurethane glue requires moisture to cure.

Apply glue to the tenon.

Assemble Rocker

It seems unlikely that one could assemble a front leg and back leg into a rocker simultaneously when the angles are about 20 degrees different, but it works…

Push the legs into the seat first. Insert the rear rocker tenon part way. Fit the front rocker tenon. This will put up some resistance, but the kerfs provide a little bit of play.

Push the rocker the rest of the way onto the tenons.

Install Brace

Polyurethane glue allows time to twist parts into place. With the rocker assembled. The rear leg is twisted into position to line up the brace with the screw holes.

Screw and glue the brace into the leg first.

Screw and glue the brace to the seat last.


Wedges are used to further secure the leg tenons. Run them across grain so that they don’t split the rocker.

Wedge positioned and ready to be tapped.

Tapping the wedge with a dead blow mallet.

Apply clamp pressure to ensure the shoulders of the tenons meet flush with the rockers.

Cross Dowels

Use a scrap piece of wood to ensure you don’t drill through the rocker.

Hole drilled for cross dowel to secure lower leg tenon. Tap in the cross dowel.

Seat Wedge

A wedge further secures the seat tenon.


The lower half of the seat is assembled! I’m quite pleased with the way it looks. However, I will hold off on assembling the second chair until I’m sure of the fit and comfort of the first chair.

Next, I will clean up the rocker by shaping the area where the legs meet the rocker…

-- Mark, Minnesota

10 comments so far

View kenn's profile


810 posts in 3776 days

#1 posted 12-29-2012 03:56 PM

Nice job, but … forget to mention the minor cut. I also like to leave a little DNA for future furniture historians to discover.

-- Every cloud has a silver lining

View a1Jim's profile


117160 posts in 3633 days

#2 posted 12-29-2012 04:16 PM

A interesting build.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View DustyMark's profile


346 posts in 2126 days

#3 posted 12-29-2012 05:53 PM


What’s a project without a “sacrifice” of blood?


This is definitely an interesting, challenging and fun build. Thanks!

My daughter was home this week from college and she took great pictures and video.

-- Mark, Minnesota

View sras's profile


4827 posts in 3185 days

#4 posted 12-29-2012 06:25 PM

This is a really good blog. Lots of detail and information. The only down side is that I’m find myself wanting to build one! My project list keeps growing …

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View Oldtool's profile


2661 posts in 2247 days

#5 posted 12-29-2012 06:33 PM

Wow, that is one nightmare of a glue-up. I’m sticking to cabinets and tables, which I seem to give me enough glue-up problems.
Is there any reason why you don’t use a longer open time glue, like Elmer’s wood glue, with w 20 to 30 minute set time?
Thanks for showing.

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

View DustyMark's profile


346 posts in 2126 days

#6 posted 12-30-2012 12:12 AM

White glue would be a real good alternative. Hide glue would allow easier repair if a part needed to be replaced. I’ve had parts seize on me during complex assemblies with yellow wood glue. I guess I “drank the Kool-Aid” when Gorilla glue came out, had good success with it, and never tired anything else. I like the concept of the glue expanding in the joint slightly to possibly fill any imperfections.

Gorilla mentions 10-15 minute open time on their instructions. I suppose that would apply to a tenon that might have glue pre-applied to it. I’m not sure how much time you have once the joint is together to twist or slightly reposition the pieces before risking joint failure. However, I’ve never had a problem running out of time on a complex assembly. The video shows me getting slowed down a bit by the 5/8” wedges being a little thick, but I still got the whole thing together in 13 minutes. It definitely helps to be organized before spreading the glue!

-- Mark, Minnesota

View DustyMark's profile


346 posts in 2126 days

#7 posted 12-30-2012 12:17 AM


Thanks, a growing project list = hobby security!

-- Mark, Minnesota

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3390 days

#8 posted 12-31-2012 04:05 PM

I am feeling like SRAS, but I have no room for more furniture. Maybe as a gift perhaps. I used some of that polyurethane glue on some outdoor repairs and it seems to be quite tough stuff and holds well too. Squeeze out seems to be the bad thing about it, but that goes for other glue type too.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View DustyMark's profile


346 posts in 2126 days

#9 posted 12-31-2012 04:55 PM


I’ve found that a sharp scraper works well to take off polyurethane glue squeeze out. I do less damage with the scraper than with sandpaper. It seems to scrape off better than yellow glue.

-- Mark, Minnesota

View DustyMark's profile


346 posts in 2126 days

#10 posted 01-06-2013 12:26 AM

I used liquid hide glue for the upper assembly and plan to use it when I assemble the lower assembly of the second chair. It gave me plenty of working time and clean-up is easier. It clings well to the sides of a tenon as you’re applying glue to the tenon.

-- Mark, Minnesota

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