Unusual Lion Paw rocker

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Project by Don "Dances with Wood" Butler posted 10-26-2012 01:27 PM 1252 views 0 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My client brought my attention to this piece by mentioning that he had an old rocker with animal feet on the front legs. I thought that to be very unusual and he said he’d like to have it restored since it was in poor condition.

The finish was in deplorable condition and nails and screws had been driven in through the legs to hold it together. There was no upholstery on it at all, just some straps tacked on to hold a cushion or something. All the joints were loose and there was even some mud in the carved paw feet.

I found a Southern antique expert who said it was probably a factory built chair around the early 1900s, not a valuable antique, but a nice keepsake.

First I had to disassemble everything and repair the damage done by the makeshift repairs inflicted on it. The old finish, badly oxidized and beat up was scraped and sanded off and restained approximately the same color. After assembly it was finished with poly, hand rubbed with 0000 steel wool and finishing wax.

With the new upholstery carefully selected for the period it finally looks like a rocker from a Victorian parlor.

Don “Dances With Wood” Butler

-- Will trade wife's yarn for tools.

14 comments so far

View Bluepine38's profile


2971 posts in 1868 days

#1 posted 10-26-2012 01:36 PM

Damn, you took a refuge from the junke and antique store and made a beautiful rocker. May not be worth
a lot of dollars, but it looks like it would be solid and comfortable place to relax and read a few woodworking
books. Thank you for sharing.

-- As ever, Gus-the 76 yr young apprentice carpenter

View waho6o9's profile


5421 posts in 1359 days

#2 posted 10-26-2012 01:36 PM

Excellent restoration Don!
Very impressive.

View chrisstef's profile


11683 posts in 1789 days

#3 posted 10-26-2012 01:36 PM

Don – what a great restore on that rocker. Its always a tough project reworking something like that.

-- "there aren’t many hand tools as awe-inspiring as the #8 jointer. I mean, it just reeks of cast iron heft and hubris" - Smitty

View SBRPearce's profile


7 posts in 970 days

#4 posted 10-26-2012 01:38 PM

That’s beautiful and inspiring. I’ve got a couple pieces that came out of the family furniture factory in the 1880s, and they’ll need the same treatment or more.

-- "Work consists of whatever a body is obliged to do. Play consists of whatever a body is not obliged to do." -Mark Twain

View Roger Clark aka Rex's profile

Roger Clark aka Rex

6940 posts in 2217 days

#5 posted 10-26-2012 02:54 PM

Don, you certainly made a great job of restoring the chair to an amazing condition. Always nice to see something like this, excellent work.

-- Roger-R, Republic of Texas. "Always look on the Bright Side of Life" - An eyeball to eyeball confrontation with a blind person is as complete waste of Time.

View Surfside's profile


3389 posts in 956 days

#6 posted 10-26-2012 03:46 PM

I love it ! Great restoration ! *Clap

-- "someone has to be wounded for others to be saved, someone has to sacrifice for others to feel happiness, someone has to die so others could live"

View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

13398 posts in 2765 days

#7 posted 10-26-2012 03:47 PM

super job Don ! and your upholstery selection is spot on … luv it

-- keeping myself entertained ... Humor and fun lubricate the brain

View DocSavage45's profile (online now)


5507 posts in 1625 days

#8 posted 10-26-2012 04:35 PM

Nicely done. Have a similar rocker made of all wood, sitting in my home office. Thanks for the information. :-)

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

15820 posts in 1121 days

#9 posted 10-26-2012 04:38 PM

Very beautiful. Great job.

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Ralph's profile


164 posts in 916 days

#10 posted 10-26-2012 05:17 PM

Nice restoration. Nice reupholstering job.

-- The greatest risk is not taking one...

View tinnman65's profile


1190 posts in 2196 days

#11 posted 10-26-2012 08:56 PM

Very Nice Don, it looks like a new chair. It should get another 100 years now!

-- Paul--- Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. — Scott Adams

View Don "Dances with Wood" Butler's profile

Don "Dances with Wood" Butler

1006 posts in 2178 days

#12 posted 10-26-2012 09:31 PM

That’s the plan!

-- Will trade wife's yarn for tools.

View Roger's profile


15674 posts in 1586 days

#13 posted 10-26-2012 10:25 PM

You are a true restorer. Wow! very awesome

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe.

View Woodbridge's profile


2936 posts in 1200 days

#14 posted 10-27-2012 01:03 PM

Great restoration.

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

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