Hal Taylor Rocking Chair #2: Week 2, The Seat

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Blog entry by NY_Rocking_Chairs posted 05-16-2009 06:04 PM 6936 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Week 1 Part 2 of Hal Taylor Rocking Chair series Part 3: Week 2 continuted, the arms »

As you all saw in Week 1, the seat started out as 5 boards glued together.

The next step is to cut the seat down to its rough dimensions on the table saw.

After that the back corners are cut out, again on the table saw. The front leg joints are cut out and then all 4 joints are rabbetted on both the top and bottom of the chair. The front curve is cut with the band saw.

Here is the seat after those steps:
Seat, Pre Carving

Here is a close up of the back leg joint on the seat, notice the rabbit grabbed the seat and there is an oops on the bottom of the seat. I am not worried about this because after the back leg gets shaped most of the side material gets cut away and then routed over so that oops will disappear later:
Back Leg Joint

Here is a close up of the front leg joint on the seat:
Front Leg Joint

The front leg joint is done using a router with a sleeve to ride along a jig. Here is the jig:
Front Leg Jig

Here is the jig on the seat:
Jig on seat

Next comes carving out the seat. I like to do this outside if possible. The process throws a lot of chips and dust around in all directions. If I must do it inside I hang sheets on the sides and back of my table so most of the chips are captured there. I found a chain-saw-bladed carving disc for my right angle grinder. This carver takes a bit of practice getting used to it:
Lancelot Carver

Here we are outside with the seat half-carved. The holes in the one side are depth holes so I know how much to carve. The front holes are shallower that the ones in the back.
Seat Half Carved

After carving the whole seat I go to a normal grinding wheel to get the high spots out and then go to a Random Orbital Sander at 60 grit to smooth out the seat and further remove the high spots.

Here is the seat after sanding, there were some knots and voids in the wood that I choose to leave in there, the dark spots are epoxy fillings:
Seat Sanded

The next major step in the seat is to router out the back brace holes. Hal sends you this nice CNC made jig for use with a spiral up-cut bit and collar. The jig is for all three chair sizes, I tape over the holes I am not using just to be sure I don’t put a back brace hole where one should not be. Would hate to get 6 hours into a seat and then ruin it with an extra hole.
Back Brace Hole Jig

Here is the seat with the holes all routed. From here I will go through the various sanding grits on the top only. Once the back legs are shaped the seat cuts more material trimmed off the sides and back so I won’t sand those areas until just before assembly.
Seat Finished

Because the seat has so much information I am breaking this week into two installments…now on to the arms.

-- Rich, anybody want a peanut?

4 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


117115 posts in 3601 days

#1 posted 05-16-2009 06:06 PM

Good blog thanks for sharing.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Woodhacker's profile


1139 posts in 3748 days

#2 posted 05-17-2009 10:25 PM

Rich, excellent blog…I’ve always like this style of chair and woudl love to try this sometime. The hip joints and subsequent shaping is fascinating. (great photos)...thanks.

-- Martin, Kansas

View Don2Laughs's profile


68 posts in 3458 days

#3 posted 05-17-2009 10:50 PM

I see a rocking chair in my near future so … I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your posts.

-- Don in San Diego, Ca.

View NY_Rocking_Chairs's profile


510 posts in 3622 days

#4 posted 05-18-2009 11:05 AM

Great, we love to see more of these chairs come together…

If anyone purchases Hal’s plans based on reading these blogs I would most appreciate it if you let Hal know that these blogs helped influence your decision. Just mention Rich from NY Rocking Chairs. Thanks.

-- Rich, anybody want a peanut?

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