Hal Taylor inspired rocking chair

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Project by bues0022 posted 02-11-2017 05:10 PM 1714 views 4 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’ve been working on this chair for a VERY long time. I started it when my wife was pregnant with our first kid….6 years ago. At least I finished it a couple months before our third child though, right? Why did it take me so long? There’s a number of reasons. First, I don’t have a very well stocked, or permanently set up shop. Up here in MN, it’s awfully testing of my drive to go run the table saw in an unheated garage when it’s -10F! Also, we moved three times between the start to the end (built a house, so house projects took priority), had a couple kids, and just life in general kept me from doing much of any woodworking. It almost seemed like it would never get done, but alas I just kept on an hour here, an hour there, modifying most of the steps of the book to accommodate my tools/skills and I finally finished.

The chair is made from spalted maple and walnut – all sourced locally from two different sawmills in SE Wisconsin and Minneapolis area of MN. The seat is a 4-ply layup of walnut/maple/walnut/walnut. Backrests are maple/walnut/walnut/ash. The backrests and rockers were laminated using custom-made forms to accommodate the changes I wanted to do – such as the longer/downward curving tails to the rockers. I used the book and plans from Hal Taylor, but modified some of the features such as the curve of the headrest to mimic more of a Maloof-style. Not only is Hal’s book very instructive, but his online “support group” helps with those clarification questions that inevitably come up with something like this. It’s very easily the most comfortable wooden chair I’ve ever sat it.

I can’t even begin to count the hundreds of hours this chair took me to make. I think I have over 200 hours of hand sanding from 36 grit all the way down to 1200 grit on the entire chair. Every step of the way was stretching my woodworking abilities (I’ve never done a non-square project before), and there are some flaws that I would have liked to not have, but in the end it’s about as good as I could have imagined it ever turning out. My wife loves it and sits in it everyday – and that’s what matters most.

-- Ryan -- Bristow, VA

16 comments so far

View Kelster58's profile


428 posts in 448 days

#1 posted 02-11-2017 05:56 PM

That is absolutely AMAZING. You are truly a craftsman. WOW. I hope you and your family enjoy that rocking chair for many many years.

-- K. Stone “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” ― Benjamin Franklin

View AJ1104's profile


430 posts in 1567 days

#2 posted 02-12-2017 12:59 AM

Great work sir! A true masterpiece for you and your wife to enjoy.

-- AJ, Long Island. New York

View Bobsboxes's profile


1335 posts in 2572 days

#3 posted 02-12-2017 02:42 AM

Very beautiful chair, great use of super wood.

-- Bob in Montana. Kindness is the Language the blind can see and deaf can hear. - Mark Twain

View pottz's profile


2600 posts in 892 days

#4 posted 02-12-2017 02:51 AM

well I gotta say it was worth the effort and time spent,absoloutly gorgeous the two tone wood contrast.this is top notch buddy great job.

-- sawdust the bigger the pile the bigger my smile-larry,so cal.

View R_Stad's profile


393 posts in 1751 days

#5 posted 02-12-2017 03:17 AM

Nice work Ryan. Your persistence paid off nicely. Keep going.

-- Rod - Oregon

View WoodwolfAtl's profile


37 posts in 1513 days

#6 posted 02-12-2017 03:42 AM

Absolutely beautiful well Done!

View Andrek's profile


237 posts in 1817 days

#7 posted 02-12-2017 12:42 PM

This my friend, is a work of art, bravo, now somebody will spend even more time enjoying it than you making it.
Keep on making saw dust , it’s well worth the effort.

-- andrek

View Jeremymcon's profile


224 posts in 587 days

#8 posted 02-12-2017 01:03 PM

Wow! Gorgeous. Those epic projects can be so satisfying once they’re finished. Better to take your time and do it right than to rush and end up with a finished product you’re not completely satisfied with.

View a1Jim's profile


116906 posts in 3485 days

#9 posted 02-12-2017 01:06 PM

Very nice work.

-- Custom furniture

View helluvawreck's profile


30164 posts in 2774 days

#10 posted 02-12-2017 01:21 PM

This rocker is absolutely beautiful. It’s a beautiful design with lots of nice details and craftsmanship.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View CrazyRussianWoodShop's profile


187 posts in 553 days

#11 posted 02-12-2017 03:26 PM

It is certainly going to be your legacy…
Excellent job!!

-- Michael Makarevich (CrazyRussianWoodShop):

View Eli Adamit's profile

Eli Adamit

723 posts in 3197 days

#12 posted 02-12-2017 05:28 PM

Very nice.

-- Eli Adamit, Israel

View oldrivers's profile


1249 posts in 1474 days

#13 posted 02-12-2017 07:48 PM

A real standout beautiful chair, wonderful work and finish.

-- Soli Deo gloria!

View bues0022's profile


245 posts in 3068 days

#14 posted 02-13-2017 01:49 PM

Thank you everyone for the kind words. I certainly couldn’t have done it without the support from those who have done this before me. I’ve learned a lot about myself through this project – it is possible to complete seemingly impossible projects when you break them down to manageable small steps, have patience, and a healthy dose of stubbornness!

-- Ryan -- Bristow, VA

View builtinbkyn's profile


1965 posts in 848 days

#15 posted 02-13-2017 02:19 PM

Wow truly beautiful craftsmanship. It may have taken a while, but the results were worth waiting for ;) Beautiful wood selection and pairing. The joinery looks flawless. Maybe you could teach me some of your patience. :)

-- Bill, Yo! Brooklyn & Steel City :)

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