Merrilegs Rocking Horse

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Project by Scott Shea posted 02-20-2013 10:05 AM 1874 views 3 times favorited 5 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!

5 comments so far

View alholstein's profile


165 posts in 2765 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


385 posts in 1415 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


2710 posts in 2435 days

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


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.


-- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View Fishinbo's profile


11343 posts in 898 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

149 posts in 645 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!

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