After having received several requests for a detailed blog of a rocking chair build I spoke with Hal Taylor and received his permission to do this. This chair is based on his first book and set of plans. He has a new book with updated plans which I am getting soon.
This is not a full-time job for me so I will be posting one week at a time since I get to spend maybe an hour every other night on the chair.
Week one sees the planing and cutting out of all the blanks. I purchase 40-50 bd ft of 8/4 lumber per chair. I like to have extra and left-over so I can choose and cut for getting the best grain and features from the wood.
3 front leg blanks
2 back legs
2 arm blanks
Pieces for the seat
The back legs are cutout directly out of the 2” stock board on the band saw. Then the leg is cut down from the 2” thick stock to the rough profile of the leg. A stack piece is glued to the leg where the seat joint will be. This brings the joint to more square block. The inner face where the block is glued is then cut to the appropriate angle which results in the back legs angling out as they go up. You are actually looking at the front of the legs:
The head rest is made up of 5 to 6 pieces of wood depending on the width of the stock. These are then run on the planer to get the appropriate angle between each section. This 5-block head rest was glued up in 3 steps:
Day 1: Pieces 1 and 2 get glued together, Pieces 4 and 5 get glued together.
Day 2: Piece 3 gets glued to piece 2.
Day 3: The 2 sections are glued together (piece 3 gets glued to piece 4).
The seat is glued up and awaits getting cut to size and all the joints routed to shape. This is a 5 board seat. The stock I got for this chair was the last set of boards off of a pallet, so while I got it cheap, there were no wide boards:
The rocker blanks are cut into strips on the table saw and then glued up on the forms. Each rocker takes a day to glue up so it is a 2-day process to get the rockers glued up. These will not be touched again until the very end. It takes a lot of clamps. The angled aluminum is bolted to the form and the strips are clamped to the aluminum to keep them aligned while I get the rest of the clamps tightened up.
Thus ends week 1.
To answer some of the other questions…I only use Titebond III except for the rocker to leg joints, there I use epoxy-resin.
There are about 4 or 5 different router bits used in the making of this chair. Hal has a router set up for each bit so he isn’t constantly changing out his bits, I am not that rich yet.
The other specialty stuff needed involves some longer drill bits for drilling the head rest holes and the rocker to leg holes. Plug cutters are needed to cut plugs for covering the screws, as well as the countersink to match the plug cutter. The original book and plan calls for twelve 4” screws and four 1 1/2” screws, preferably stainless. A forstner bit is also used in some places.
Power tools needed are the table saw, band saw, drill press, router(s), oscillating spindle sander (one could get away without this but it is very nice to have), jointer, grinder, ROS.
As we get into the specific steps I will show you the nifty tools and toys I have found or made to make the process easier, as well as the jigs.
If you have any specific questions please feel free to PM me and I will address it in the next blog installment.
-- Rich, WNY, www.nyrockingchairs.com