Rocking Chair Summer Camp with Bill Kappel #2: chair day 2

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Blog entry by motthunter posted 07-16-2008 03:15 PM 2198 reads 2 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Day 1 of my "Build a Rocking Chair" camp adventure with Bill Kappel Part 2 of Rocking Chair Summer Camp with Bill Kappel series Part 3: Here is day 3 »

Day 2 started with taking my glued up seat out of the clamps and taking my first shot at carving out the seat with a grinder. I have not done this before so it took me a bit to get the technique down. It will take far longer to perfect it.

I was fortunate to have Bill’s undivided attention and patience. He helped me get the angles right until I started to get my seat formed. Had I tried to learn this on my own, I guarantee that I would have wasted dome prime lumber until I got to this point.

Take a look at some of my pics from glue up to carving..

boards marked to be cut for glue up. angles create chair shape when all glued

clamped to make markings and planning joints prior to glue up

Horizontal boring for doweling the seat

glue up ready for carving

carving to shape seat begins


first sanding is done and front leg joints are started.

next comes the front and back legs.

This so far has been an extremely interesting and educational experience. I am sure it will continue this way.

More photos to come.

-- making sawdust....

10 comments so far

View teenagewoodworker's profile


2727 posts in 3825 days

#1 posted 07-16-2008 03:44 PM

wow, that looks great. you did a wonderful job on the curvature of the piece! thanks for the post.

View gizmodyne's profile


1780 posts in 4147 days

#2 posted 07-16-2008 04:26 PM

Interesting post.

A couple questions if you don’t mind.

Do you cut those joints on the table saw before glue up?
Did you use a template to layout the pencil lines of the seat?
Was the piece carved a bit before glue?


-- -John "Do I have to keep typing a smiley? Just assume it's a joke."

View F Dudak's profile

F Dudak

342 posts in 3867 days

#3 posted 07-16-2008 04:26 PM

OK you’ve got me on the edge of my seat! I am hooked on Windsor chairs but would love to make other styles eventually. My next class is Aug 18th with Mike Dunbar at the Windsor Institute in Hampton NH where I will be taking on a Philly High Back. Glad to hear you are enjoying yourself keep the posts coming. That must have been amazing to see those slabs of wood transform into a seat that beautiful.

-- Fred.... Poconos, PA ---- Chairwright in the making ----

View rtb's profile


1101 posts in 3770 days

#4 posted 07-16-2008 04:55 PM

GREAT, YOU HAVE ALREADY TAUGHT ME THINGS…..I have the same basic questions as gismodyne. plus was there a special stone or blade or ???? on the grinder. please keep it up with lots of pictures, you’re not the only one who is learning rt

-- RTB. stray animals are just looking for love

View motthunter's profile


2141 posts in 3856 days

#5 posted 07-16-2008 08:17 PM

Thanks for the kind comments. I keep telling people that I am an old man that got to go to summer camp.. Summer camp was the best time of my youth.

The joint were cut on the table saw prior to glue up. If you get a copy of Sam Maloof’s DVD, you can see the process as he did it. Next, I doweled them and dry fit them. In a dry fit stage, the templates were used to show the seat outline to be carved and also the front edge.

The dry fit is taken apart to then use a template on each piece to allow band saw cutting to rough cut the seat to get waste away and set depths so that after the seat was glued, reference depths were obvious and also a good percentage of material is already removed so that you don’t have too much to grind away. Look at the picture above to see how it looks pre-grind but post glue up.

As for the grinding head, I think it is called a donut shaped cuts-all.. but I am not sure. I will ask and see if I can find out.

I am on a lunch break when i am writing this. Wait till you seehow cool today’s work is coming. Photos will be posted. I am really like a kid at camp. This is so much fun and my skills are growing every minute. I highly recommend that everyone take a class from Bill Kappel. He is a great teacher.

-- making sawdust....

View Callum Kendall's profile

Callum Kendall

1918 posts in 3760 days

#6 posted 07-16-2008 08:26 PM

Great work!

Thanks for the post


-- For wood working podcasts with a twist check out

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 4045 days

#7 posted 07-16-2008 08:35 PM

Great post. I have his documant on making chairs, but you can’t beat being taught by him!

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View motthunter's profile


2141 posts in 3856 days

#8 posted 07-16-2008 08:46 PM


The document on making chairs that Bill sends out is for a simpler chair without a shaped bottom. It lacks many steps and drawings. I am loving the details of the hands on. You have to pay to get the full drawings and templates of his best chairs. He also does group seminars that are a lot cheaper than the 1:1 class I am in.

-- making sawdust....

View Sac's profile


268 posts in 3690 days

#9 posted 07-17-2008 01:37 PM

Looks great. I’m saving some of my thicker pieces for rocking chair seats. Now to reserach this guys plans. Thanks for the post.

-- Jerry

View motthunter's profile


2141 posts in 3856 days

#10 posted 07-17-2008 01:43 PM


the seat needs 6/4 lumber, but other parts are even thicker 8/4

This is why this style chair gets so expensive to make.

Bill has a free set of instructions you can get on his website, but it is a basic chair. To build the best style with a curved seat bottom and other features, you have to buy a set.

-- making sawdust....

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