For a while now I’ve wanted to build a rocking chair. I was finally tipped into starting the construction after my dad is retired after a thousand years and I found my wife trying to rock my kid to sleep in a folding chair in the nursery and so I’ve finally set aside my other projects and buckled down. In the purest form of logic I decided since I’ve set aside the time for one, might as well build two, just don’t tell the wife or father which one I make all the mistakes on.
I wanted to post a blog to share with friends and open up the floor for any advice from some more experienced craftsmen out there.
I am using instructions and templates from Mr Bill Kappel from www.kappelusa.com I have made some changes for better or worse to fit my tooling or preferences along the way.
I got the walnut locally, plus a little extra for later.
I also developed some concept sketches to help with shaping and planning using Bill’s templates.
I cut all the templates on thin MDF to help with transferring the designs and for use with some jigs during the shaping later on.
For the runners I cut my walnut laminates and book matched the top layer. The bottom of the runners will have one ply of Rock Maple for protection against the floor. I couldn’t find any mesquite and I think a little maple will contrast nicely.
I used the inside curve of the runner to form a template for laminating. I chose to vacuum laminate the runners help with glue penetration and apply even pressure. When I do this again I will modify the mold so I can run some bolts to help clamp the runners to the mold and still get the vacuum pressure. I applied one layer at a time as I roughed out other parts of the project. Then finally split the runners and planed them down to my desired width.
I chose to make a contoured seat and matched the front and back legs to my leg joints on the outside boards.
The front legs make a 90 degree connection 9 inches from where they join the arm rest. I rounded the corners with a 5/8” round over bit and cut a dado 3/8” deep by ~1” wide to match my rabbet bit on the seat joint. For now the boards are 3” wide but will be trimmed and given a slight curve.
The back legs sit at a 5 degree angle from the seat. I used a quick template and router to make a 5 degree surface on the inside of the back leg and then cut a matching 5 degree slot (3/8×1”) using the same template. I then took it to the table saw for a matching slot on the other edge at 5 degrees mitered. I then used the roundover to match the seat rabbets, I did this last to keep more surface area to provide stability for routing the slots.
Once the joints were fit as close as I could manage I glued the seat together outside boards to the middle seat boards. I rough cut the seat contours to help with shaping of the seat later. Never mind what looks like a burned board, I may or may not have busted the correct blade and resorted to using the incorrect blade as I still wait for my replacements to come in.
After sitting in clamps for 48 hours I matched everything up and made final measurements for the headrest, back-slats and arms
I always like projects that involve tools I don’t have. As a result I now have a new grinder, and have the seats roughly shaped using a 40 grit flap disc. I’ll hit the seat once more with the grinder and 120grit then transfer to an orbital and scrapers working up to final finish.