Is this worth rebuilding??

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Forum topic by okwoodshop posted 12-08-2010 04:34 AM 1821 views 0 times favorited 25 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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448 posts in 3350 days

12-08-2010 04:34 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question

I would like opinions on whether this old rocker would be worth the effort to rebuild. All the pieces are there and in fairly good shape. It is Pine and has no sentimental value, I just hate to throw something like this away.It was left out in the rain and given to me by a neighbor who new I liked rocking chairs. Some of the joints have not failed yet and some have only come apart half way. I was thinking of letting it stay in the rain some more to finsh parting them??? Thanks for your advice.

25 replies so far

View RickMathison's profile


3 posts in 2943 days

#1 posted 12-08-2010 04:52 AM

Whether it is worth it is entirely up to you. If nothing else it would be good practice. The chair looks old enough that you may be able to re-activate the glue with a heat gun.

View poopiekat's profile


4384 posts in 3910 days

#2 posted 12-08-2010 04:52 AM

I restored this rocker for one of my best customers in my antiques business which I ran years ago. Though I preferred not to do customer work, it was a great challenge. It had sat in her flooded basement, and was so wrecked that she brought it to me in moldy pieces, in a trash bag. In this case, it was sentimental value that drove the need. She ‘nursed her babies’ in this chair, some 45 years earlier. Though the slab seat on your rocker may be pine, the turnings are undoubtedly birch or similar, and the results may be well worth it. If al else fails, you have a great start to a rocker of your own design, using the salvageable parts combined with your own fabrications! Just think how much further ahead you are, than if you decided to build one from scratch!! GO FOR IT!!!!

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

View TheDane's profile


5534 posts in 3839 days

#3 posted 12-08-2010 04:58 AM

I think I would re-build it. Bringing something like this back to life can be pretty fulfilling.

One of my prized possessions is an old rocker my grandfather brought over here from Denmark in 1883. It sat out on my aunt’s porch for years after he passed away, and was in pretty sad shape when I got it.

I disassembled it (thankfully they had used hide glue and a neighbor showed me how heat/loosen the joints with a heat lamp), removed what varnish remained with a mixture of starch, salsoda and water, and applied several coats of varnish.

I wouldn’t part with it for anything.


-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View okwoodshop's profile


448 posts in 3350 days

#4 posted 12-08-2010 05:36 AM

Thanks, I think I will try if I can get the other joints apart. It really is a nice looking rocker but i will scoop the seat out a little more.And probably make some laminated rockers as I don’t trust solid ones. Maybe I can donate it to a fund raiser or nursing home. Poopiekat great restore job, what kind of wood was that rocker made ouit of?

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3146 days

#5 posted 12-08-2010 07:34 AM

I think I have that exact same rocker at home. We bought it when we were starting our family, in 1972. i think it had some maple parts along with the pine seat.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18380 posts in 3851 days

#6 posted 12-08-2010 08:05 AM

Poopiekat, are you sure that wasn’t a training chair? ;-))

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View okwoodshop's profile


448 posts in 3350 days

#7 posted 12-08-2010 06:33 PM

There are two maple leaves etched into the headboard and 1776 between them. I guess maybe this is a bicentinnial rocker?? I do believe the arms are maple and maybe the back slats.
I also discovered bad news, the back legs were turned from glued up stock not solid pieces and they have started to seperate a little. the only way to repair them that I know of would be to fill the cracks with super gule and then wood filler??

View anforte's profile


157 posts in 3520 days

#8 posted 12-08-2010 06:43 PM

Have done many restorations similar to yours.
Unglueing is not so great a problem; often gentle mallett taps release joint without any damage.
Solvents help in obstintate cases.
I prefer keeping all the original parts and only make substitutes when absolutely necessary.

Get in there and attack the challenge!
You will be both satisfied and proud of your efforts.

-- Anforte NJ

View dbray45's profile


3320 posts in 2952 days

#9 posted 12-08-2010 07:28 PM

What you learn will be worth far more than what the chair is worth and who knows, the chair could be worth a lot if you do a good job on it

-- David in Damascus, MD

View reggiek's profile


2240 posts in 3446 days

#10 posted 12-08-2010 07:39 PM

I have learned alot and really brushed up my skills fixing old furniture….I have turned tons of spindles…and fixed the entire gamit of chairs and cabinetry….If you need/want the practice…that would be an interesting reconstruction (I am not a big fan of Pine as it is so soft).

If you don’t need the practice….I would pass it to someone who does…..I like the idea of reviving old stuff as we have become such a throw away country these days….buying cheap stuff…that breaks quickly….then we throw it away and buy another….that is putting us at risk for our economy and for out environment….sorry for the soap box.

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

View TheDane's profile


5534 posts in 3839 days

#11 posted 12-08-2010 07:47 PM

A couple of years ago, the owner of the building my employer is in evicted another tenant who dabbled in some sort of art or design work.

They tossed a drawing table that was in pretty sorry shape into the dumpster back near the freight elevator … it was one button push away from a one-way ride to the landfill.

I pulled it out of the dumpster and took it home, thinking I could use the wood for jigs or something.

When I took it apart and cleaned it up a bit, I realized it was white oak. With a little repair work and a new skirt around the top and a new pencil tray, I figured it might be serviceable. I sanded and stained it, replaced the ugly steel hardware with brass, and gave it several coats of poly.

It now sits proudly in front of a window in my office at home, and is where I do layouts for my woodworking projects. I even dug my old drafting instruments out of storage.


-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View DaddyZ's profile


2475 posts in 3216 days

#12 posted 12-08-2010 08:03 PM

I Say go for it !!! When finished it will be good memories of playing in the Shop.

I Have a old desk I keep thinking about!!!

-- Pat - Worker of Wood, Collector of Tools, Father of one

View archie18's profile


204 posts in 3666 days

#13 posted 12-08-2010 08:06 PM

I repair stuff like this just for the challenge and practice then donate to Goodwill. Better than going to landfill.

-- Robert in middle TN

View ND2ELK's profile


13495 posts in 3949 days

#14 posted 12-09-2010 12:44 AM

You should restore it and give it to a nursing home or find someone that would love to have it.

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View snowdog's profile


1166 posts in 4158 days

#15 posted 12-09-2010 04:53 PM

I restored one last year (need to post it) and it was enjoyable, Was it worth it , probably not for $$ but the enjoyment factor was great enough for me.

-- "so much to learn and so little time"..

showing 1 through 15 of 25 replies

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