Hal Taylor Rocking Chair #3: Week 2 continuted, the arms

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by NY_Rocking_Chairs posted 05-16-2009 06:22 PM 5634 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Week 2, The Seat Part 3 of Hal Taylor Rocking Chair series Part 4: No update this week, Head Cold and spring planting »

The next step is for the arms to be carved out on the table saw. Building this nifty jig allows you to setup things very easily and pass the boards across the blade at the correct angle and keep your fingers out of harms way.

This picture shows the table saw setup with the guide, the jig and one of the arm blanks mounted in the jig. I have permanently marked my table saw for where the guide board goes as well as the number of turns to take on the blade height handle.

The process here is to start with the blade at zero depth and then come up 1/4 turn after each pass. The arm blanks passes over the blade at the correct angle and we slowly carve out the cup in the arm. Each arm takes 12 passes over the blade. The jig just flips over from right arm to left arm so the whole process is very easy and quick.

Arm Jig Setup

Here are the arms after the carving on the table saw. Notice that the process leaves a lot of ridge marks in the cupped out areas. It takes a bit of sanding and careful attention to detail to ensure you get all of those ridges sanded out.
Arms carved

After marking the arms with the template from the plans they get cut out on the band saw. From here I will use the ROS with 60 grit to get them very close to final shape. A few passes over the router table with some round-over bits will see them to their final profile.
Arms cut out

Also this week the back brace strips are cut and started glueup. Eight back braces are made even though only seven go into the chair. This gives you an extra one in case one gets messed up during fabrication. I also hang on to all the extra back braces just in case a customer ever has a broken one I have one on hand that will match the chair pretty well. It takes 4 days to glue up all the back braces, they get glued up in pairs. Very similar to the rocker jig, just a form with angle aluminum for keeping the strips aligned and lots of clamps.
Back Brace Glueup

Hal recommends the use of Ash for the center two strips of each back brace, claiming ash is stronger and more flexible. I have made braces using the ash, braces that were 100% walnut, 100% cherry, 100% maple, half walnut/half maple and have not found any difference in the flexibility and feel of the back brace. Nor have I ever had one reported broken or broken one myself. Maybe one day I will make up some test laminations and do some stress tests, will be an interesting experiment.

Thus ends Week 2. Next up is leg shaping, both back and front.

-- Rich, anybody want a peanut?

4 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


117060 posts in 3539 days

#1 posted 05-16-2009 06:24 PM

Good #2 blog very helpful

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Jarrhead's profile


51 posts in 3321 days

#2 posted 05-17-2009 03:13 PM

I am so glad to see you posting this blog. I have been contemplating buying Hal’s plans but was unsure about the complexity. Based on your excellent posts, I feel that this project is within my capabilities. I am really looking forward to the rest of your posts. Keep up the geat work!

-- trn2wud

View Woodhacker's profile


1139 posts in 3686 days

#3 posted 05-18-2009 12:10 AM

Rich, it’s great to see these step-by-steps. Like William, I also have been looking at Hal’s plans for the last 6 months or so… is that Hal’s plans laying open in the background of the first photo above?

Also, your jig has seen a lot of back braces come and go.

Again, nice photos…thanks for posting these steps.

-- Martin, Kansas

View NY_Rocking_Chairs's profile


510 posts in 3560 days

#4 posted 05-18-2009 11:04 AM

That is Hal’s book in the 3-ring binder. He also sends you full size printed plans (well he did when I was buying them) that you glue to the material of your choice and cut out on the band saw and you have traceable templates for everything.

The following templates are what I have from Hal:
Back Leg (all 3 sizes)
Seat, with profile lines, back brace hole positions (all 3 sizes)
Front Leg (all 3 sizes)
Front Leg Sweep arc
Headrest arc
Back Brace bend form
Rocker bend form
Rocker taper shape for the ends of the rockers
Back Brace top template (if you look at one of my completed chairs, notice the top of the back braces).
Back Brace bottom template

Also included are the back brace hole jig. His book tells you how to build all of his other jigs. Which is why your first chair takes 160-200 hours, you are building lots of jigs…

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?

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics