Building a Thos. Moser Design New Gloucester Rocking Chair #16: Making the Final Top Crest

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Blog entry by DustyMark posted 01-05-2013 02:34 PM 3010 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 15: Rum's Brilliant Solution for Lining Up 14 Spindles for Glue-Up Part 16 of Building a Thos. Moser Design New Gloucester Rocking Chair series Part 17: Glue the Upper Assembly »

With Rum’s assembly jig complete, I was free to make the actual top crest. I realized that this particular piece of 12/4 cherry is from an old friend who had been a P-40 pilot in WWII. He officiated my promotion ceremony to Lt Col before he passed over a decade ago.


Holes are drilled and the curve is marked.


Making the cut. I should have cut more to the outside the line on the inside curve. I dipped in with the cut at one point and by the time I cleaned it up, I was close to one of the spindle holes…oops!


I’ve got a shop full of power tools, but often the best tool for the job is a hand tool. I like to use a freshly sharpened smoothing plane to take out bandsaw marks on the outside of a curve. I use a sharp spoke shave on the inside of the curve. The spokeshave was just a little dull and wouldn’t cut the difficult grain closest to me. A little work on the diamond stone and it cut even the difficult grain with only minimal chatter.

This shows some of the progress at truing up the curve and removing the bandsaw marks. Some sort of sander would work, but a blade keeps the surface truer.

Here’s the final surface. I spokeshaved the bandsaw marks and then used the extra blade from my cabinet scraper to remove the spokeshave chatter marks. No sandpaper has touched this surface at this point.

Dry Assembly

I dry assembled the upper assembly to make sure I had full contact with all of my spindles. I had marked the proper height of the all the spindles using my prototype top crest. I marked the outermost spindles on the top and the bottom since I hadn’t decided if I was going to make them 1/4” shorter to keep them from pooping out the back side of the top crest. My intent was to use the bottom mark as a reference to measure up from for a final cut . I was explaining some nuance of woodworking while cutting one of those outer spindles. You guessed it, I cut at the bottom reference line! Oops, I had to turn another spindle to replace that one.

Note: I opted to swing the outside curve out an extra 1/8” to provide more room for the outermost spindles, which enter the top crest at 15 degrees.

Close up of front of top crest.

Close-up of back of top crest.

Dry assembled. This chair is really taking shape!

It not only looks good, it’s also very comfortable. Even without glue or pins, I can lean most of my weight against the back without too much “creaking.” The forced bends in the back spindles provide rigidity to the back assembly.

I’ve predrilled the holes for pinning the spindles and will cut some 3/16” dowels for the cross pins. Then it’s on to gluing the upper assembly…

-- Mark, Minnesota

2 comments so far

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3387 days

#1 posted 01-05-2013 03:36 PM

It looks beautiful and comfortable as well. l’m really looking forward to see how the arms will look on it. I love the shape on the crest rail, it’s very graceful and suitable to the overall design.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View DustyMark's profile


346 posts in 2122 days

#2 posted 01-05-2013 07:37 PM

So am I. If I start turning the arm spindles today, I could experiment with fitting the arm rests on Sunday after church!

-- Mark, Minnesota

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