|Project by tyvekboy||posted 260 days ago||1736 views||10 times favorited||22 comments|
Dec. 16, 2013
This rocker design is unique in that is a low-rider. It is a combination of a mission style rocker with sculpted arms. Everyone who has sat in it loves it and likes the way the arms are positioned.
Queen Liliuokalani was the last monarch of the Kingdom of Hawaii. This mission style design was favored and used by Queen Liluokalani, hence the name Liliuokalani Rocker. It was said to have been built by Chinese furniture makers of that time in Honolulu and has been accepted as the traditional Hawaiian Rocker.
LILIUOKALANI is pronounced like this:
LILLY—U (like in moon)—O (like in sole)—KA (the a pronounced like “a” in far) – LA (same “a” like in KA) – NI (i pronounced like y in city)
Now you have had your hawaiian language lesson for today. LOL
Several variations of of this rocker have been made over time and I have combined features of the ones that I’ve seen into my version of this rocker.
Ever since I was a child I use to rock in the very rocker pictured below and have always wanted to have one of my own.
This is the one I took tracings from for the parts and measurements. This rocker was one that has been in my father’s family and was restored. I liked the arms, headrest and the front legs of this one.
Another one I saw was at a friend’s house. It is also known as the Monarch version of this rocker. The differences on this version is the pierced slats and the front seat support which I liked very much.
My rocker incorporates the basic design of my family heirloom, specifically the head rest and are arm shape and the pierced slats and the front seat support of the Monarch version.
The original ones were made of Koa. My reproduction is made of hickory.
All the rough pieces were joined with mortise and tenons first before any final cutting and shaping was done.
I started with the back and front legs.
The back seat support was fitted between the two back legs.
The top of the back legs were finished with pyramids instead of being flat on the top.
The front seat support was fitted between the front legs.
Next the headrest and the lower slat support received mortises for the slats. All machining (slat mortises and tenons at ends) were done while these parts were one big chunk of wood. Here is a picture of the head rest receiving it’s mortises for the slats. These mortises were done with a pattern and a router and guide bushing.
The tenons on both the head rest and lower slat support were then cut and fitted to the back legs. The slats would float between the two.
This is the jig I made to shape the inside curve of the headrest (and lower slat support). Here you see the headrest block before hogging out.
This router sled was used to smooth out the curve. A ball bit was used.
The head rest was hogged out on the table saw before using the above jig. Notice the legs left on the sides near the tenons. The reason it was left was so it could be placed on the band saw after the curves were formed to cut the shape of the top of the headrest. This operation would have been easier on the bandsaw.
The outside curve of the head rest and lower slat support was done with this jig and sled setup.
After the headrest and lower slat support were cut to final shape the slats were cut to final shape and fitted to the back legs.
I didn’t take photos as I built this so in the above picture you see the seat in place. You can also see the mortise in the back legs (for the back of the arms) and the tenons on the front legs (for the front of the arms).
The side rails that joined the front and back legs required angle tenons since the distance between the front legs was greater than the back legs. See my angle tenon jig posting that I use to cut these tenons. These were made next and the front and back legs were now joined together.
The arms were the next piece to be fitted with mortise and tenons. The joints were fitted before the arm was cut to final rough shape on the bandsaw. Here is how I fitted the front of the arm to the front legs.
This is how the back of the arm was fitted to the back legs.
Each arm “block” weighed about 8 pounds at this stage. After I was satisfied with the fitting, the arms were cut on the bandsaw and shaped with spokeshave, micro file, and sandpaper. The arms then weighed about 3 pounds.
The next part was fitting and carving the seat. This was roughed out with a router and Holey Gallahad disc. Final shaping was done with random orbital and finishing sanders.
Somewhere along the way the front seat support was cut to final shape.
I don’t have any pictures of cutting and fitting the rockers which were also joined with mortise and tenons. Cutting mortises in a curved piece of wood was tricky.
All seat supports were predrilled with pocket screw holes before any assembly started.
After all the pieces were fitted and clamped in place to check for fit, all pieces were rounded over with an 1/8 inch round over bit where required. Then each piece was sanded down to 320 grit sandpaper. Then and only then were all the pieces glued together.
The back legs, back seat support, headrest, slats, and lower slat support were glued together as one unit. Slats were not glued.
The front legs and front seat support was glued together as one unit.
Then the side rails and side seat supports were glued to join the front and back leg units.
The seat was set in place before the arms were glued to the front and back legs. If the seat was not in place, I would have never got it in after the arms are glued in place.
The rockers were the last pieces to glue on the rocker to finish the glue-up.
The seat was then attached with pocket screws.
Several coats of natural Watco Danish Oil was applied as the finish.
This project was very interesting and challenging considering I only had tracings of the parts and no knowledge of joints used. Building a piece of furniture with no plans or guidance really tests ones skills. I was very happy with the final outcome.
I hope you enjoyed the details of the build as much as I enjoyed building it.
Comments are appreciated. Questions always welcomed.
Thanks for looking.
-- Tyvekboy -- Marietta, GA