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Top Secret....Rocker for my Wife #5: Sizing and Planning

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Blog entry by bues0022 posted 1326 days ago 3443 reads 1 time favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 4: Build-up, let down, and neutralize Part 5 of Top Secret....Rocker for my Wife series Part 6: Wood purchase »

I’m sure it’s just taking me longer since this is my first chair and I’m making design changes before I even start, but I think I spent nearly 3 hours last night reading and re-reading the first chapter of the book planning out my cut list and organizing what kinds of lumber I need. I’m picking it out tomorrow morning, and I want to be prepared. Of course, all of my preparation will likely go out the window when I get there and have to pick out my wood based on what’s available, but at least I’ll hopefully be prepared to make quicker decisions.

The biggest issue I’m really hoping for some help from is on sizing. My wife is 5’6” – which is the tipping point from a small to a medium chair. Which size do I make? I’m leaning towards making a size small because it’s uncomfortable to have your legs not quite touching the ground, but it’s also uncomfortable having your elbows too high from being in a chair too small. Does anyone have any insight they can give me today?

-- Ryan -- Maple Grove, MN



10 comments so far

View Builder_Bob's profile

Builder_Bob

160 posts in 1654 days


#1 posted 1326 days ago

Find the chairs in the house that she uses the most and measure them.

-- "The unexpected, when it happens, generally happens when you least expect it."

View grizzman's profile

grizzman

6762 posts in 1898 days


#2 posted 1326 days ago

well if i remember , your not at home…your at your uncles..so is there anyone who can get into your house and give you measurements of some of the chairs she sits in…that would be a good way to decide…but if that wont work..does it look like your wife will pretty much always stay small..not to imply anything about some of us who have gotten bigger…but is there any likelihood that she will gain any more size…if not…the small night be the best way to go…....and…this is worse case scenario , you would someday have to make another chair…and heck…that would be just to bad, to have to make another beautiful chair…by then you wont have to be sneaky and it might be fun for you wife to actually see you doing this for her..seeing it go from raw wood , to the shapes of a beautiful chair…....hope is all works out…oh …is your uncle going to help you any..that would be cool…as he is letting you stay there and use his shop…having his touch in this would be very nice…the love of family…and a great story to be told later in life to your children…grizzman

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View bues0022's profile

bues0022

215 posts in 1755 days


#3 posted 1326 days ago

Thanks for the inputs. Unfortunately I’m not able to really measure anything. All of our things are in storage right now as we are in a big state of limbo with her finishing med school. I also don’t think we have any hard chair that we really sit in….

In terms of size, height is very constant (obviously). As far as other “size” no she’s not going anywhere there either – until we get pregnant! But that would be more of a width issue, right? Perhaps I could make the width of a medium chair but height of a small? That might not be too bad of an idea. It’s basically just the seat width that changes.

I won’t change the length of the seat, because I wouldn’t really consider her to be a long-legged 5’6”.

My Godfather does do some woodworking (obviously as I’m using his shop), and I know he’ll be helping in terms of ideas and techniques, but not the actual work. He’s a four-square guy, and he said you couldn’t get him to do a free form like this if his life depended on it! Even still, my wife thinks the world of him, and know it will mean something that he did help out mentally, but not physically.

-- Ryan -- Maple Grove, MN

View HenryH's profile

HenryH

132 posts in 1999 days


#4 posted 1326 days ago

Hey Ryan,

It sounds like you are using Hal taylor Plans. I made a large chair for me. At 6’ I find it a little large for me. I am currently making a small for my wife at 5’ 2”. I would lean towards the small size. It will still be large enough to sit her comfortably and her legs will touch the floor and her back will reach the back rest.
One mistake I made with my large chair (among others) is that it sits too far back on the rockers. On the new chair I am going to have the seat be almost level with the floor, sitting back just slightly.

Good luck!

-- HenryH - PA

View Canadian Woodworks's profile

Canadian Woodworks

602 posts in 1665 days


#5 posted 1324 days ago

She is at the high end of a small and low end of a medium.

Now if your going to be doing a downward swooping headrest like the chair in your sketch, don’t do a small build a medium for sure.

As Hal suggests in his book, you’ll attach the rockers with screws, at this point you can flip it over and have a seat!!!!! Ok I know your not there yet, but you will be and it will be a good time….lol

Anyways at this time spend some time sitting, rocking, putting legs up on a make shift foot rest. If you feel it sits to far back or forward you can add a 1/8’’ lamination to the front or back between the rocker and leg.

Just back the screw out put the lamination between then tighten the screw and test again.

Our chairs are usually about bang on for how we and our testers we have visit, but we have adjusted a few chairs at this point, with a single 1/8’’ lamb never had to use 2.

Just a note you’ll be amazed how well the bottom legs meet up with your rockers once you get there, usually not much sanding for a perfect fit.

-- Paul Lemiski, Ontario Canada, Custom Wooden Rocking chairs and tables http://www.canadianwoodworks.com

View bues0022's profile

bues0022

215 posts in 1755 days


#6 posted 1323 days ago

Paul- Why do you suggest making a Medium chair based on the direction of the swooping headrest? I’ve gone back and forth on the sizing. Some say, small – others medium.

Still can’t decide – she doesn’t really have that long of legs, and I’m worried a medium will make her legs strain to touch the floor making it not as comfortable….

-- Ryan -- Maple Grove, MN

View Canadian Woodworks's profile

Canadian Woodworks

602 posts in 1665 days


#7 posted 1322 days ago

The swooping headrest will fit 5’ 6’’ in the medium design, but with the up swooping it is a little high. Her legs will reach the floor with a medium rocker, I measure 17’’ on a medium I have in the next room.

-- Paul Lemiski, Ontario Canada, Custom Wooden Rocking chairs and tables http://www.canadianwoodworks.com

View bues0022's profile

bues0022

215 posts in 1755 days


#8 posted 1321 days ago

I guess my plans on making sure the headrest sits in the correct spot are as follows:

I was going to make the headrest first, before I make the patterns for the back legs. Then, put the headrest in the “normal” orientation on the paper patterns and mark where the center sits. Then, flip it upside down to create the sweeping headrest where the outer edges are higher than the center. Line up the center on the marks I made before, and now I’ll know exactly how much longer I’ll need to make the back legs when I line up the outer edges again.

I think this would work for either the small or medium. I emailed Hal, and he suggested the small. He is 5’6” and finds the small a little more comfortable. I’m getting conflicting advice from great sources, so I guess this means I can’t goof it up too bad no matter what I figure out!

-- Ryan -- Maple Grove, MN

View Canadian Woodworks's profile

Canadian Woodworks

602 posts in 1665 days


#9 posted 1321 days ago

If your going to do the headrest like that, go with Hals suggestion to build the small

We didn’t adjust the legs, in fact we made sure the headrest stayed in the same position. Thought the legs might look a little long, especially because we add an extra 3’’ already for the horns, so now you’ll have to add 6 – 8’’ to the leg length….. might start looking out of proportion.

At the same time i’d like you to do it that way so we can all see how it will look. (-:

-- Paul Lemiski, Ontario Canada, Custom Wooden Rocking chairs and tables http://www.canadianwoodworks.com

View bues0022's profile

bues0022

215 posts in 1755 days


#10 posted 1321 days ago

Paul- now I see what you were saying about adding three inches. I thought you meant before that you added three inches to compensate for the different arc on the headrest, but you add three inches to the top for the horns. That’s why you said to go medium, otherwise because the headrest is curved differently, her head might land above the headrest on a small chair. I’ll make the headrest first (well, actually because of my wood situation third), but before I cut the legs and figure this all out.

I think that while my idea will definitely add to the overall height, I don’t know if it will look too out of proportion. Different proportions, yes, but think of it maybe more like a “king’s” chair – those backs are VERY tall! I’ll play it by ear and see where things end up.

-- Ryan -- Maple Grove, MN

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