A High Rise Rocking Chair

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Project by GnarlyErik posted 05-30-2013 06:26 PM 1660 views 3 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My grandfather had a massive, custom made rocking chair which he always sat in before his fire. It was ‘his’ chair and everyone knew to get out of it when he came into the room. He was a big man, and the chair was just the right size for him. I always loved that chair, but alas, it was claimed by and passed on to another relative and I never got to sit in it again after the old man passed.

Now that I am old myself – and somewhat of a woodworker, I considered replicating my grandfather’s chair for myself. But, after thinking about it, I decided rather than a massive chair, which would not fit in with my wife’s tastes, a chair with a higher seat would suit me better. I am getting creaky with arthritis these days, and it is harder for me to get up and down out of a chair or sofa the usual height. I think anyone my age can relate.

Some years ago, I built a big, high mahogany bed, with the mattress about eight or ten inches higher than usual. It was great from the beginning. All I need do in the morning is simply swing my legs over the side of the bed and stand up – no using my hips to elevate my body at all. Getting in bed at night is also better. My wife likes that bed so much I’ve now built two more for our home – she says the extra height makes it much easier to make up, and to vacuum under. The extra height benefit is the reasoning now behind the ‘High Rise Rocker’.

The rocker’s legs (risers) are curved, and splayed to provide stability for the extra height, yet still look right, at least to my eye. The back is slightly curved from side to side for comfort. There are a few boat cabinetry type ‘darts’ cut into the chair for decoration, and some curves thrown in for interest.

My wife made the matching cushion upholstered in a heavy brocade which picks up the color of the chair. From the start this chair felt right. It sits and rocks perfectly, and to get up, all I need do is simply rock forward with my feet on the floor and stand up. There is little or no lifting by the hip muscles. Trouble is now, my wife likes it so much, that I will need to turn right around and build her one too! At least that will give me a chance to tweak things a little to improve a couple things I now see about the chair – and also build a small stool which I now see is needed.

Most of the chair is made of popular, with red oak back rails and slats. It is glue joined with mortise and tenon joints and no fasteners. The chair is painted with three coats of sprayed on oil-based paint, sort of a light teal green which I blended myself.

I like my new chair!

-- "Never let your dogma be run over by your karma!"

4 comments so far

View HillbillyShooter's profile


5811 posts in 2437 days

#1 posted 05-30-2013 06:53 PM

Great rocker; great story; thanks for sharing! Yes, I can relate to your design accommodations and need to keep these in mind for my future projects.

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View Woodbridge's profile


3574 posts in 2563 days

#2 posted 05-30-2013 10:30 PM

Hi rise or low rise it is a great looking rocking chair.

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

View hunter71's profile


3251 posts in 3331 days

#3 posted 05-31-2013 12:02 AM

Great chair, Your grandfather was a wise man. Grandson is too.

-- A childs smile is payment enough.

View redryder's profile


2393 posts in 3246 days

#4 posted 06-02-2013 07:58 AM

Great attention to detail. Your lucky to have a crafty wife…..................

-- mike...............

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