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Merrilegs Rocking Horse

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Project by Scott Shea posted 02-20-2013 10:05 AM 1983 views 3 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I built this rocking horse for my kids based off plans for the Merrilegs Rocking Horse from Woodcraft. I found out that I was having another kid, and I didn’t want to build another pedal plane just due to the logistics of storage and moving them across the country has been a pain. A rocking horse it is!
To be honest, I forget the thicknesses of the wood used exactly, but it was made with about $100 dollars in lumber from Home Depot, but it’s all made from pine and stained in natural and left over red mahogany from a bed that I was building (see other projects). For the most part, I followed the plans with the build. I omitted the harness, which I may attempt later. Instead of using a mop as the plans stated, my with assisted me with using cotton thread in making the mane and tail. The pine was particularly knotty, and while I like the look of knots, they were in some bad spots. Rather than buying a new sheet of pine, I just worked around the knots and filled them as best as I could. I also used an additional peg in each leg to add strength, which was probably an overkill. I used a hand crosscut saw to make the angle to get the legs to splay. That was probably the most difficult cut to get correct and required a lot of additional sanding. I ended up needing to make a 5th leg because I made a mistake in one of those hand cut splays. All the pieces were rounded over using my Ryobi router table.
For the handles, I used oversize Shaker coat pegs (I believe they were 5” long) after I drilled the dowel handles crocked. I filled them and used these reenforced Shaker pegs instead. The eyes are Shaker pegs (smaller than the handles that I cut off and glued into place, which gave it a nice eyeball effect. They are stained Red Mahogany as well. Everything else was pretty straight forward off of the plans.
This was the first project that I didn’t need to buy any more hand tools to complete! The cost was relatively low because of it! It was not a particularly hard build either. I think the hardest part was sanding the mouth area. That cut was made with a hand crosscut saw. The finish was a sanding sealer base followed by Red Mahognay and Natural, with about 5 coats of Poly on top of it all. The last picture also shows a stick horse, I’ll cover that in another project as well.

-- I make sawdust. I think thats a fair assessment of my finished products!





7 comments so far

View alholstein's profile

alholstein

165 posts in 2786 days


#1 posted 02-20-2013 04:34 PM

Looks good, I am sure that it will greatly enjoyed by it’s riders.

-- Al Holstein "I wood do it"

View nitewalker41's profile

nitewalker41

392 posts in 1436 days


#2 posted 02-21-2013 04:12 AM

Really nice work, bet they well get well used for years to come

-- "older I get, the more fun I have"

View lightweightladylefty's profile

lightweightladylefty

2745 posts in 2457 days


#3 posted 02-21-2013 05:24 AM

Scott,

First off: welcome to LJs! Nice rocking horse! The idea for the eyes is great. Your wife did a nice job on the mane and tail, too. This should get passed down through many generations.

L/W

-- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View Fishinbo's profile

Fishinbo

11343 posts in 920 days


#4 posted 02-21-2013 03:26 PM

Fantastic rocking horse! Like every detail of it and has a great build. Surely will be enjoyed and will last for many years.

View Scott Shea's profile

Scott Shea

151 posts in 666 days


#5 posted 03-04-2013 05:37 PM

Well, I thought I built it indestructible, but apparently my daughter figured out a way to break the horse. The break happened just above the front shoulder. Its not a clean break, but its certainly a break that I don’t believe that just using Titebond III will fix well.
Should I drill a dowel down from the neck into the body? It’s a 1” thick yellow pine area that broke off. I’m sort of not sure what I can do to fix it without doing something either invasive or using ugly external bracing.
If I build another or if I were to recommend for future builders, pine clearly wasn’t strong enough for the abuse that kids give these things. a 3-1/2 year old broke it.

-- I make sawdust. I think thats a fair assessment of my finished products!

View SandyEggoJake's profile

SandyEggoJake

1 post in 19 days


#6 posted 11-28-2014 07:47 PM

Nice Job, Scott.

My late father built one from this same plan in the late ‘90’s (picture in my profile). I suspect he used hard woods he milled and air dried himself. As a result, his beast survived a nephew & two nieces, and still looks spectacular. I particularly like his modification of porcelain back plates for eyes.

Now it is my turn. Since my sister will never part with her original, the best I can hope for is a copy for my 3yo boy. So the long sought Griz 0513ANV BS is on its way (early present from the wife) and I have just enough days to get horsey built & under the tree.

Q: Can you provide a bit more info on your break? You mention it was above the front shoulder… you mean across the neck line and across the grain?!? I’m guessing it occurred due to a (rare) lateral tip over? Otherwise, I can’t fathom how a 3 yo – or even his old man – could generate enough force to make such a break! But advise on what you might do to avoid a repeat is appreciated. Thx!

View Scott Shea's profile

Scott Shea

151 posts in 666 days


#7 posted 11-28-2014 11:58 PM



Q: Can you provide a bit more info on your break? You mention it was above the front shoulder… you mean across the neck line and across the grain?!? I m guessing it occurred due to a (rare) lateral tip over? Otherwise, I can t fathom how a 3 yo – or even his old man – could generate enough force to make such a break! But advise on what you might do to avoid a repeat is appreciated. Thx!

- SandyEggoJake


Hi SandyEggoJake,
Thank you for your kind words, and that is a great question. My daughter would really throw her 25-35Lbs into this horse when she rocked on it, and I do not think that there was sufficient glue in the neck pocket area, so essentially the wood the straddles the neck pocket was bearing the brunt of the force when rocking. Over time, it was enough that the Southern Pine failed right where the neck was glued, which upon examining the break it seemed logical that I didn’t use sufficient glue (essentially, it was my error that lead to the glue failure/joint failure). I used Gorilla Glue for the repair, and I have not had an issue with it since. My daughter is almost too big to rock on the horse now, but my son still uses it.
The nice thing about this design is although it is top-heavy, laterally this is very sound. It has been knocked over twice, but there was never any damage (that I can tell, anyway).

Best of luck on your new build! The horse in your picture looks beautiful!

-- I make sawdust. I think thats a fair assessment of my finished products!

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