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Little Red Rocker

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Project by Don posted 2756 days ago 1722 views 0 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This was a project that I found myself starting with absolutely no confidence. Relatively new to woodworking, I had enough trouble getting everything square, let alone dealing with the carving issue. Now I was being asked to make a Rocking Horse. So I began searching the web and found a number of examples that were very uninspiring, and required some imagination to see a horse. Of course, given my untested skills in carving, I was fully prepared for my rocking horse to look like a rocking kangaroo.

I finally selected the Little Red Rocker by Anthony Dew.

The wood I chose was jelutong (Dyera costulata). From the rain forests of south east Asia, It grows to approximately 200 ft with diameters of 5 to 6 ft and boles clear and straight for 90 ft. It grows in Malaysia, Borneo and Sumatra. Its natural distribution is scattered locales in low-elevation tropical evergreen forest.

Jelutong is used for its wood. Although technically a hardwood it has many properties similar to balsa wood. These properties such as the low density, straight grain and fine texture mean it is easy to work with and popular with model makers.

The stand is of Australian Mountain Ash, a hardwood.

The horse is primarily natural in finish with some dark stain to antique the look of the wood. I sealed the wood with a sanding sealer, then applied the dark stain and immediately wiped it off and re-sanded to return to the natural honey colour of the wood except where the stain penetrated below the grain surface.

I followed this up with three coats of dewaxed shellac, with a light fine wet/dry emery paper between each coat. The final shellac coat had a hardening agent to give a harder surface than is normally available using shellac. Finally, I cut polished the hardened shellac with a waxed based polish available here in Australia.

The stand is finished with shellac as above with no stain. This project has given me confidence to do more woodworking involving carving. I plan to make a larger Rocking Horse in a few year, as this one is suitable for children up to 5 years old. Although my grandson is still an infant, I can see him quickly growing out of this one.

-- CanuckDon "I just love small wooden boxes!" http://dpb-photography.me/





13 comments so far

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 2900 days


#1 posted 2755 days ago

Hi Don. Beautiful job.
Coincidence, I made a horse similar to your’s way back in about 1955, when my Boys’ where about two, & three years old. I had a plan similar to yours, from a magazine. The horse was supposed to operate with a motor in the base, but I made it into a spring horse.
The Boys had hours of fun on that thing.
I never considered this as carving, because I roughed it out with a hand saw, then shaped it with a wood rasp. Now days I guess you could call it carving, but with rotary rasps. I’d like to share a couple of old photos of my boys in action. These are the only pictures I have of them riding it.

I’ve taken images with my digital camera of all my old black & White negatives with a jig I made, & put them on my hard drive.

The horse is up in my garage attic now. I guess I’ll have to dig it out, & take some colored images.

Jim, 1955

Steve, 1955

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN. http://www.woodcarvingillustrated.com/gallery/member.php?uid=3627&protype=1

View Don's profile

Don

2599 posts in 2778 days


#2 posted 2755 days ago

Dick, judging by the look of glee on your son’s face. I’d say your efforts were well repaid.

Regarding the mater of defining carving, I roughed out the shape on the bandsaw in two dimensions, but carved the rest with proper carving chisels. It may not strictly be ‘carving’ but it was a very enjoyable experience using the tools and cutting into the wood. It gave me a real ‘feel’ for the project, if that makes any sense.

-- CanuckDon "I just love small wooden boxes!" http://dpb-photography.me/

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 2915 days


#3 posted 2755 days ago

Nice work Don, but I’ve seen a rocking horse. Now I want to see a rocking kangaroo!

View Don's profile

Don

2599 posts in 2778 days


#4 posted 2755 days ago

Dennis, how’s this?

-- CanuckDon "I just love small wooden boxes!" http://dpb-photography.me/

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 2900 days


#5 posted 2755 days ago

Pretty Neat. Did you make this ?

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN. http://www.woodcarvingillustrated.com/gallery/member.php?uid=3627&protype=1

View Don's profile

Don

2599 posts in 2778 days


#6 posted 2755 days ago

Nope!

-- CanuckDon "I just love small wooden boxes!" http://dpb-photography.me/

View shouldwood's profile

shouldwood

42 posts in 2759 days


#7 posted 2755 days ago

Hey Don. Thanks, first of all, but your horse if great! You did a fantastic job. Was wanting to make one similar to that. Wondered how well they rock with the hardware. How many hours or days did it take to make and are there any tricks to doing it well.

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 2915 days


#8 posted 2755 days ago

That does the Trick Don!

View Don's profile

Don

2599 posts in 2778 days


#9 posted 2755 days ago

Quote: ”...how well they rock with the hardware. How many hours or days did it take to make and are there any tricks to doing it well.”

Easy, just carve away the part that doesn’t look like a horse. Just kidding – an old joke.
But there is some truth in that. I found that taking is slowly helped a lot. Once you get it right – stop. I think there may be a tendency for a new carver to take away too much wood. I got as many photo’s off the Net as I could to better understand the anatomy of a horse’s head, neck and shoulder area. I found it very interesting to closely study the nose and eyes and put a lot of time into getting that correct.

As for the rocking of the horse itself, I think this one is as small as you would try with a glider. It would probably feel smoother on a larger model which I may try later in the year.

I purchased a carving set from Lee Valley which was wonderful to use on the species of timber I chose. [I selected set ‘b’.]

I built this slowly on a part time basis after work and weekends. It’s hard to calculate the actual hours spent all up, but I would guestimate about 75.

-- CanuckDon "I just love small wooden boxes!" http://dpb-photography.me/

View bigpops0259's profile

bigpops0259

300 posts in 2750 days


#10 posted 2748 days ago

Great project! that’s one for my grand kids someday thanks for posting

-- Marty Ohio

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

18615 posts in 2762 days


#11 posted 2747 days ago

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaw. This is wonderful.

These are what memories are made of (let alone the valued workmanship).

My Dad wasn’t a woodworker but I do treasure the memories of the stilts he made my brother and me as well as the hula skirt he made out of binder twine, when I was home sick with the mumps. Yup. Memories!

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (https://www.facebook.com/DebbiePribeleENJOConsultant)

View trifern's profile

trifern

8132 posts in 2368 days


#12 posted 2234 days ago

Very nice project that will create lifetimes of memories.

-- My favorite piece is my last one, my best piece is my next one.

View lew's profile

lew

9949 posts in 2356 days


#13 posted 2233 days ago

What a coincidence, just recently saw a rocker of almost identical type at a collector friend’s place. Apparently this design is very old. His rocker was made somewhere in the mid to late 1800’s!! It was constructed from a log- as the body- and then the legs and head were attached with dovetail type joints.

You did a beautiful job with your recreation!!!

Lew

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

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