Charles Rohlfs Rocking Chair Reproduction

  • Advertise with us
Project by Woodbridge posted 878 days ago 3796 views 11 times favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch

One of my retirement objectives is to reproduce a number of Charles Rolhfs’ decorative chairs. This is my first, a reproduction of Rohlfs’ “1899 oak rocking chair”, a birthday present for my daughter.

The chair is made from 3” x 3” oak timbers that were used to stack truck frames when they were on the rail car going to the assemby plant. They were rescued from my father’s firewood pile. I cleaned , resawed, jointed, planed and glued them up them to make the various parts for this chair. As much as possible I tried to quarter saw the timbers.

The original Rohlfs chair had an upholstered seat and what appeared to be a short straight back. The reproduction has a carved wood seat and the back is curved and a little taller to improve comfort. I left the rockers longer than the original chair. The overall dimensions are 25” wide, 38” high and 40 “deep.

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

19 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


112008 posts in 2201 days

#1 posted 878 days ago

This is a unique style ,a wonderful job Peter.

-- Custom furniture

View Woodbridge's profile


2636 posts in 1042 days

#2 posted 877 days ago

Thanks Jim. Rolhfs, although an arts and crafts era furniture maker, had a unique and perhaps a bit eccentric style compared to his contemporaries. I like his stuff, its quite interesting to build.

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

View stefang's profile


12863 posts in 1958 days

#3 posted 877 days ago

Excellent work on this Peter. It is an unusual and very nice design, well worth restoring to honor Rolhfs. That said, I especially liked that you improved the design without destroying it for more comfort and I bet nicer looks too.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View doncutlip's profile


2832 posts in 2180 days

#4 posted 877 days ago

Very cool chair, put together well.

-- Don, Royersford, PA

View MasterSergeant's profile


1284 posts in 1312 days

#5 posted 877 days ago

captivating work! Great, just a great looking chair!

-- Kelly, woodworker under construction

View Woodbridge's profile


2636 posts in 1042 days

#6 posted 877 days ago


-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

View Dennis Zongker's profile

Dennis Zongker

2416 posts in 2216 days

#7 posted 877 days ago

Beautiful Reproduction! It looks nice and heavy, it should last for a couple hundred years.

-- Dennis Zongker

View DocSavage45's profile


4879 posts in 1467 days

#8 posted 877 days ago

Has an archetectural feel, and I’m sure the future owner will appreciate the modifications.

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View Mark A. DeCou's profile

Mark A. DeCou

1979 posts in 3030 days

#9 posted 877 days ago

I’m a Rolhfs fan also!
Not many examples to see, but his story is interesting
good work.
I’d like to do one like was on the PBS Antique Roadshow, the high-backed sculptured chair with the carved lattice that looked sort of like a lava lamp looks.

good posting, good work,

-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan -

View Woodbridge's profile


2636 posts in 1042 days

#10 posted 877 days ago

Hello Mark, thanks. Hopefully this week I will make a start on the Rohlfs” desk chair (which is the one shown on Antiuqes Roadshow). After that I want to reporduce his “tall back chair. I find his works so different.

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

View Lidiya Blaznina's profile

Lidiya Blaznina

847 posts in 1163 days

#11 posted 877 days ago

Wonderful chair,Peter!!!

-- Lidiya,Russia.

View David White's profile

David White

116 posts in 1905 days

#12 posted 877 days ago

Gorgeous! You have done an excellent job with this. Did you have any plans or measured drawings? Is the circular latice work in the sides made seperatly and added in or is it cut in situ?



View Woodbridge's profile


2636 posts in 1042 days

#13 posted 877 days ago

David, thanks for the kind words.

All I had to go on was a picture of the chair and a picture of the lattice work, as well as the overall height width and depth of the chair. From the photos and the plans for a craftsman style rocking chair I did my best to scale the other dimensions. From this I made some sketches, a full sized plan, and a MDF mockup. After I completed the mockup I felt the chair was a bit too low and stretched the drawing to raise the height of the seat.

To make the medallion I traced the shape from the picture and then enlarged it to the correct size with my printer. Like the original, the medallion, which is 15 inches in diameter, is a separate piece. It is held in place with 3 splines inserted in a grooves that are routed into the inside of the chair and the medalian. Two of the splines are coverd by the seat. The one spline at the bottom of the medallion is just visible in picture 6 .

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

View kokaneesailor's profile


35 posts in 1529 days

#14 posted 877 days ago

Awesome work Peter!

View deon's profile


2171 posts in 1650 days

#15 posted 877 days ago

Great work!

-- Dreaming patterns

showing 1 through 15 of 19 comments

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics :: gardening showcase