Hal Taylor Rocking Chair #5: Week 4, Leg joints and lots of sanding...

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by NY_Rocking_Chairs posted 05-30-2009 06:52 PM 6198 reads 2 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 4: No update this week, Head Cold and spring planting Part 5 of Hal Taylor Rocking Chair series Part 6: Back and Front Legs »

Hello again…

Due to backing up septic tanks and clogged pipes I was not able to get into the shop until Saturday. I accomplished everything on my list for the week and will continue Sunday with more sanding of the seat, leg shaping and then glue the legs and seat together by mid-week next week.

For now, on to today’s progress:

Started out with a 1 1/2 hour sanding marathon. 45 minutes per arm:
Here is a picture of the 1st arm sanded next to the arm that has not been touched since it came off the table saw and band saw…
Arm comparison

The next picture is 45 minutes later with both arms sanded. I start with 60-grit, go to 120, 220, 320, 400 and then finished up with a 500-grit abralon pad. The pads are pricey at $65 per box of 10, but well worth it, this year I even forked out more to get some 1000-grit pads, not sure it was worth it, not a huge noticeable difference between sanding to 1000 versus ending at 500.
Arms sanded

From here I went to work on the leg joints. As you recall from working on the seat, we cut a bunch of notches, rabbits and such. To get the legs to fit these joints we start out by marking the legs for where they need to match up to the seat. Then using the table saw, we cut notches in three sides of the front leg blanks. The leg blanks were dimensioned to fit the seat gap perfectly before-hand though.
Front leg notched

The back legs also get marked and the notches cut on the table saw. Trial fitting to the seat joints are key during the notching of both the front and back legs so that you don’t remove too much material and you get a nice, tight fit.
Back legs notched

After I am satisfied with my notches I use a round-over bit which is the same radius as the rabbit bit we used on the seat. This gives us the nice curve which is identical to the curve on the seat. Here is a picture of all four legs after being put through the router:
Four legs rounded

Here is the seat sitting on a raised toolbox with the legs all in a dry-fit:
Rough fit

The joints are tight enough that is takes some persuasion with the mallet to get them tight, but not too tight that you have to worry about splitting wood. With the legs in position I mark the legs where they hit the top and bottom of the seat, this gives us a guide for when we final shape the legs. I also mark the seat where the back legs hit it so I can mark and band-saw both the sides and back of the seat with a nice curve. I like to use the rocker-taper template for marking the seat, it is a nice curve and I know each side will be identical. With the sides and back of the seat band-sawn I will now proceed to sand the heck out of the seat all the way through 500-grit.

-- Rich, anybody want a peanut?

6 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


117085 posts in 3570 days

#1 posted 05-30-2009 08:28 PM

Looks like great progress and beautiful wood, looking forward to more photos.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3578 days

#2 posted 05-30-2009 08:28 PM

Awesome and also really lovely wood too well done sir Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View NY_Rocking_Chairs's profile


510 posts in 3590 days

#3 posted 05-31-2009 01:49 AM

The photos were just accidently deleted, give me 10 minutes and they will be back up…

All fixed again, web site has been revamped and recovered…

-- Rich, anybody want a peanut?

View stanley2's profile


344 posts in 3788 days

#4 posted 05-31-2009 03:10 PM

Rich, I’m enjoying your blog especially with Sam’s passing on so recently. I’m curious about your sanding schedule to 500 grit. Is this Hal Taylor’s recommendation? Normally, we sand to 180/220 to allow adequate finish penetration and sand the finish itself to the higher grits.

-- Phil in British Columbia

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 4240 days

#5 posted 05-31-2009 03:57 PM

Looks likes its going to be a beauty.

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View NY_Rocking_Chairs's profile


510 posts in 3590 days

#6 posted 05-31-2009 06:55 PM

The sanding is Hal’s recommendation. The finish used is Deft Danish oil which is a penetrating oil and is not really sand-able. I follow Hal’s advice and sand the wood to 500 before applying the finish. The finish application is also Hal’s recommendation which is to apply liberal amounts with a paper-towel and keep the wood looking “wet” for about 10-15 minutes, then wipe dry with new paper towels. Let the piece rest for about a week and then do a quick sand with a 500-grit pad and then a quick wipe wet with the oil and immediately wipe dry.

-- 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