Rocking Horse #4: The Rockers

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Blog entry by mot posted 12-22-2007 11:37 AM 8898 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: The Saddle! Part 4 of Rocking Horse series Part 5: Hi-Ho, Silver! »

This part of the project gave me more grief than any so far. They have to be perfect and exactly the same otherwise you have a wobble horse instead of a rocker. So, I decided to make a prototype.

Setting up a temporary trammel and using all the bench square footage I could muster, I started measuring the arcs.

I cut my prototype / template from 1/4” hardboard on my little trammel setup. I used a scrap piece of 1/4” plywood, a clear base for the router, and some double sided tape. I screwed it at a fixed point centred on a scrap piece clamped to the bench, and cut the arc. The top part of the rocker is a bigger radius than the bottom part, so this gave me a good idea of how I was going to do that.

A little cleaning up with the jigsaw, and I have a prototype. Relatively painless. I did spent an inordinate amount of time planning this move. Mostly by sitting and staring at it and scratching my head to pass the time.

I had a centreline drawn on the template, and had another alignment line on the piece that the trammel was screwed to. I used the longest straight edge I had to line up my board to get the most pleasing grain, or what I hoped would be.

I then set up my trammel again and cut one rocker. I made some anti-tip ends on the the rocker as per the plan suggestion, finished it’s shape, then used it to help align the next rocker, chucking my template for the now better shaped and final sized rocker #1.

The end result:

This move took me a lot more time that I anticipated. I realized very early in the build, that the rockers aren’t where you want to see any error, so they have to be perfect. I think these are. They are the same, anyway.

While I was thinking the rocker moves, I cut out the legs and some mane and tail accents.

I cut some wedges for the correct spread of the hooves, and glued them all up. Lots of clamps.

I trimmed the wedge blocks and used the little Porter Cable belt sander to fair them off for joining to the body of the horse. I also took some time to fix a couple of errors that I made when gluing up the initial panels for the body. I used dominos and three of them ended up right in the middle of a scroll cut for the head. I had to route them out and fill them. Finicky work but it was all chisels, block plane and my shooting board, so I was smiling.

Assembly will occur tomorrow night and God willing a coat of amber shellac. Two more coats Sunday, leave it sit Monday, and put a bow on it for Tuesday. I hope I have time!



-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

7 comments so far

View MsDebbieP's profile


18616 posts in 4308 days

#1 posted 12-22-2007 11:42 AM

it’s going to be gorgeous—and ready for Tuesday :)

(but you DO have to sleep sometime as well!!)

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View cajunpen's profile


14578 posts in 4213 days

#2 posted 12-22-2007 11:56 AM

Good luck Tom – if you pull it all off – it will be beautiful. I have faith in you. Send pics on Tuesday evening – of the rocking horse if you pull it off and if not, your black eye from the wife for failing :-))

-- Bill - "Suit yourself and let the rest be pleased."

View Karson's profile


35134 posts in 4548 days

#3 posted 12-22-2007 10:34 PM

Tom a question on the rockers. Are they a perfect circle or are they oval. I’ve wondered with a circle would the have the same center of gravity as a oval would. meaning would the go to the same spot when at rest.

A football will basically go to the same spot while a ball will rest anywhere.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia †

View mot's profile


4917 posts in 4184 days

#4 posted 12-23-2007 02:19 AM

Karson, they are a circle, yes, but the plan is quite specific on the exact balance point of where the horse sits in them. I thought the same thing, but the kids gotta have a little excitement getting on and off, doesn’t he?

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View furnitologist's profile


198 posts in 4161 days

#5 posted 12-23-2007 07:43 AM

Way to put it out there Tom…........super effort. You must feel line you’re preparing for finals. Is there a pot of Horton’s coffee on yet???

I see you yelling from the shop….........”Get the bow ready”.

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 4110 days

#6 posted 12-23-2007 02:40 PM

Really coming along, Tom. It will be fun to see it finished.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6864 posts in 4127 days

#7 posted 12-23-2007 03:13 PM

Great work Tom;

Amazing how much effort / love goes into a project like this.

DId you ask your son first if he likes horses? LOL

I’m sure he’ll love it, as will his son!


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

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