Paul's Rocker-Quartersawn White Oak

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Project by lobro4 posted 04-28-2010 12:30 AM 3790 views 9 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I wanted to build a rocker but I was missing a few tools that would make it awfully tough to do in my garage shop. I don’t have a big band saw for starters and I knew that having a big free-standing belt sander would make it simpler. The solution? Go to a woodworking school! So the end of January 2010 I went to American Sycamore Retreat in Cloverdale, IN. (More on that in a later paragraph.)
The wood is quartersawn white oak. The rockers are bent lamination from four 1/4” strips. You can see in the one picture how great the glue line looks and it was really cool to watch them come together. The back legs are rough cut in one piece on the band saw and then flush trimmed using a pattern made from 1/4” ply. Lots of mortise and tenon joinery throughout. The seat frames are blind but there are through tenons on the lower braces. Cutting mortises on the curved back pieces was tricky but was aided by a pattern included with the plans and by saving the cutoffs to use as a brace. Almost screwed this part up… have to lay them out in mirror image to get them to match! The through tenon on the arm is a faux tenon but sure looks real enough. The seat was made by a nurse I work with who still does boat and RV re-upholstering on the side. I really lucked out there. Sanded to 120 grit. The stain is Old Masters Dark Walnut. The top coat is spray on post-cat lacquer done by a finishing shop here in town that I have used for many projects.
As for American Sycamore retreat, it is now closed. Some of you may or may not know Michael Van Pelt who ran the school. I do not know any details as to why he closed up shop but he is now referring all his customers to John Garrison who lives a few miles away. BUT, going to a school or workshop is something your ought to try. I got a great rocker out of the deal and even learned a little bit about woodworking and about myself.
In the end, I think it’s a lovely piece of furniture and hopefully we will grow old together.

-- Rock Chalk Jayhawk Go KU!!

13 comments so far

View rcs47's profile


190 posts in 3128 days

#1 posted 04-28-2010 01:19 AM

Great looking rocker!

-- Doug - As my Dad taught me, you're not a cabinet maker until you can hide your mistakes.

View woodsmithshop's profile


1319 posts in 3544 days

#2 posted 04-28-2010 01:38 AM

very nice looking chair

-- Smitty!!!

View ND2ELK's profile


13495 posts in 3772 days

#3 posted 04-28-2010 01:49 AM

Good looking rocker. Very nicely done. Thanks for posting.

God Bless

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View Holmer's profile


11 posts in 3096 days

#4 posted 04-28-2010 05:10 AM

Very nice work!

View NormG's profile


6111 posts in 3002 days

#5 posted 04-28-2010 05:19 AM

Really nice chair.

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View a1Jim's profile


117091 posts in 3576 days

#6 posted 04-28-2010 05:57 AM

Great looking chair very well done

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View sandhill's profile


2128 posts in 3922 days

#7 posted 04-28-2010 06:26 AM

Nice little story to go with a great chair.

View cajunpen's profile


14575 posts in 4064 days

#8 posted 04-28-2010 07:34 AM

Great looking Rocker – building a rocking chair is on my “bucket list”. One of these days I will get one started.

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

View Jon Spelbring's profile

Jon Spelbring

199 posts in 4252 days

#9 posted 04-28-2010 04:42 PM

Very nice! A Mission style rocker is on my short list of projects.

-- To do is to be

View kosta's profile


946 posts in 3353 days

#10 posted 04-29-2010 12:41 AM

looks good

View Alongiron's profile


647 posts in 2692 days

#11 posted 10-13-2011 01:53 PM

Hey..I recognize that chair! lol I live in Greencastle, Indiana about 10 minutes from where Mike had his woodworking school. I know him real well. He and his wife went through a real messy divorce which clogged things up. Its to bad because he had a real sweet thing going on out there in the middle of no where!

Your chair looks great with your own little personal touches. I really enjoyed making my chair as well.

-- Measure twice and cut once.....sneak up on it! Steve Lien

View pintodeluxe's profile


5659 posts in 2812 days

#12 posted 06-19-2013 06:55 PM

Great chair, I think I like everything about it.
Nice build quality, and the overall character of the piece is exquisite.
This one is on my list as the last piece to my 7 piece bedroom set.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View Buckethead's profile


3194 posts in 1867 days

#13 posted 06-19-2013 06:59 PM

Mission style rocker. Beautiful. The design, wood and finish all combine into a remarkable example of workmanship. Well done.

-- Support woodworking hand models. Buy me a sawstop.

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