Charles Rohlfs Oak Rocking Chair # 2

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Project by Woodbridge posted 02-03-2015 04:08 AM 2033 views 9 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is the second Rohlfs Rocker that I have made. The first one was for my daughter who has it in her home in Colorado. My wife has claimed this one.

Like my first version this rocker is made from rescued firewood, originally 3”x3” oak timbers that were used to stack truck frames or railway cars destined for the auto assembly plant. They were retrieved from my fathers firewood pile were the sat for about 20 years. Good thing that my father does not use his fireplace that often.

Compared to version 1 I made this chair a little taller than the first and also increased the height of the back.

Last year, Rohlfs original rocking chair, after which this one is based, went on public display at the Huntington Library, Art Gallery and Botanical Gardens in Pasandena California. We took a trip out to California in part to see the chair.

I had built my chair from a few pictures, so it was a great opportunity to see the original first hand. My version of the chair is much heavier than the original. I used 1.5” thick oak for the sides. Rohlfs original is about 7/8” thick. The original has a flat upholstered seat and I went with a carved wood seat. I angled the side of my chair inwards (from front to back) while the original has straight sides. I included a curved coopered back while the original has a flat back.

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

14 comments so far

View shipwright's profile


7087 posts in 2218 days

#1 posted 02-03-2015 04:30 AM

These are really intriguing chairs … and you are doing a beautiful job of recreating them.
Really nice work Peter.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

View DocSavage45's profile (online now)


7650 posts in 2263 days

#2 posted 02-03-2015 04:31 AM


You’re an art chair furniture machine! The originator might think your rocker is better.Really nice save on the firewood. And a lot of glue up? LOL! Is the work getting faster?

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View stefang's profile


15512 posts in 2754 days

#3 posted 02-03-2015 11:04 AM

Another beautifully done chair Peter. I like that you are paying due homage to Rohlfs designs while adding your own tasteful modifications. I feel that the spirit of the design is far more important than just reproducing and exact copy and I like to think that Rohlfs would be very pleased with it too.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View nimkee's profile


19 posts in 630 days

#4 posted 02-03-2015 11:44 AM

Vary nice work my be some day I will try to make one my wife been after me to make her some chair’s for the table I made her and I have not done it yet and it’s been over 3 years , yours has got me thinking of getting to the ones she want lol like I sad vary nice work .

View michelletwo's profile


2587 posts in 2436 days

#5 posted 02-03-2015 12:03 PM

your work on the Rohlfs designs has intrigued me . I have enjoyed watching your journey. thanks for sharing this with us. A delightful rocker.

View LoganN's profile


323 posts in 1321 days

#6 posted 02-03-2015 12:36 PM

WOW! That is a gorgeous piece of work! Great job

View grizzman's profile


7781 posts in 2723 days

#7 posted 02-03-2015 01:24 PM

man o man peter, this one is gorgeous, i really do like the changes you made, the curved back and the added thickness make this chair something to be reckoned with, your wife was very smart to lay claim to it, needless to say your have done a great job and i love that you used reclaimed firewood, i’ve done that whenever i have seen some figure in a piece and thought it would have something to offer..i’ve got a few small pieces right now that i have re sawed and are drying, please tel me how you finished this chair, and thank you for the continued art show from within the walls of your home, your work continues to inspire me and it nudges me on to want to get into a new furniture piece, i have several within my head and i’ve got a really nice piece of walnut im trying to decide its fate…thank you peter.

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

View Woodbridge's profile


3451 posts in 1838 days

#8 posted 02-03-2015 01:51 PM

thanks everyone for the comments.

Grizz – The chair is finished with Lee Valley Fumed Light Oak Analine Dye, several coats of Miniwax Tung Oil and a few coats of beeswax.

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

View woodenwarrior's profile


203 posts in 1615 days

#9 posted 02-03-2015 02:17 PM

I am loving that rocker!! Its stout yet elegant. Great job!

-- Do or do not...there is no try - Master Yoda

View johnhutchinson's profile


1172 posts in 1049 days

#10 posted 02-03-2015 02:56 PM

Mind-boggling talent !!!

What you need to do the next time is start with a vintage chair and reverse-engineer it back to firewood. ;-)

-- John - Central Ohio - "too much is never enough"

View kiefer's profile


4873 posts in 2087 days

#11 posted 02-03-2015 05:01 PM

Another beautifully done chair Peter. I like that you are paying due homage to Rohlfs designs while adding your own tasteful modifications. I feel that the spirit of the design is far more important than just reproducing an exact copy and I like to think that Rohlfs would be very pleased with it too.

I think Mike said it very well .
The reuse of the oak is a great idea and shows your abilities of a well versed craftsman .
Well done Peter my compliments .


-- Kiefer

View Tim_CPWD 's profile


306 posts in 665 days

#12 posted 02-03-2015 06:07 PM

Beautiful chair. From firewood to heirloom. Great job!

-- Tim Haenisch, San Diego Ca.

View Mean_Dean's profile


4932 posts in 2567 days

#13 posted 02-04-2015 01:10 AM

Absolutely beautiful rocking chair! Definitely a family heirloom!

-- Dean

View MichaelA's profile


778 posts in 2308 days

#14 posted 02-04-2015 01:13 AM

That is a wonderful recreation Peter. Nicely done. I kind of favor the old rockers myself!!!!!!!!

-- The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart. "Helen Keller"

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