Firstborn Furniture-Rocking Chair

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Project by DustyMark posted 10-11-2012 03:23 AM 1724 views 1 time favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Completed in 1988. I cranked out this rocking chair shortly after my first child was born. I didn’t have many tools back then, but I was still able to make some pretty nice furniture.

The rocking chair is solid cherry and was made from a blueprint called the “Bates Gentleman’s Rocker.” I purchased the plan from Garrett Wade. All of the mortise and tenons are chopped by hand with a mortising chisel. I didn’t have a drill press yet and chose to do all the joints the old-fashioned way. I cut the tenons with a hand saw and a shoulder plane. The chair is solid!

I did my own upholstery as well. The seat has springs tied off with spring twine to hold them in position. The back provides excellent lumbar support and is curved in cross-section as well. My late wife nursed all three kids in this rocker. My daughter has possession of it now.

-- Mark, Minnesota

3 comments so far

View lightweightladylefty's profile


3256 posts in 3853 days

#1 posted 10-11-2012 05:03 AM


Those are some lovely pieces of furniture. I especially like the rocker.

I understand your concern with all of today’s crib recalls, but the crib hardware from all those years ago is probably much better than any sold today. You’ll have to get busy and build cribs for each of your children to have for your grandchildren! ;-)

Thanks for sharing.


-- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View lysdexic's profile


5256 posts in 2764 days

#2 posted 10-11-2012 01:42 PM

What a great project. I really look forward to the day when one of my projects goes home with on of my kids. They are 7 and eleven now, so it will be a while. But this idea of passing stuff down is powerful motivating factor for me. I imagine and hope that one day my daughter will explain to a guest “oh thank you. My dad made that”

I guess I am reaching for some degree of immortality through woodworking.

-- "It's only wood. Use it." - Smitty || Instagram - out_of_focus1.618

View DustyMark's profile


347 posts in 2211 days

#3 posted 10-12-2012 01:17 AM

You can’t believe how comfortable that rocker is to sit in. My one difficulty was finding springs that were the right size. I salvaged some springs from an old mattress and they were a little bit too tall. If I was to reupholster this project, I would replace the springs with shorter ones to bring the seat height down about an inch. That’s being picky, but I’m finicky about chairs. It works fine with the stool no matter the seat height.

It is amazing to pass furniture along to your kids. The rocker has a very special meaning to my daughter since her mom passed away in 2009 and she used that rocker since my daughter could remember.

Wood projects executed well can be passed through multiple generations. My stepson recently took possession of a wonderful desk that his great grandfather, Albert I, built. It was well worth his grandfather’s estate paying the $800 shipping fee to pass it along to Albert IV. That’s pretty cool right there. Here’s a picture of that heirloom…

-- Mark, Minnesota

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