Advice on transforming claw-footed wingback chair into rocking chair

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Forum topic by mrunge340 posted 01-03-2014 09:43 PM 2506 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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7 posts in 1909 days

01-03-2014 09:43 PM

Topic tags/keywords: rocking chair advice repurposing

I just got commissioned to turn a wingback chair into a rocking chair for a friend’s daughter, who is expecting at the end of February. I figured it wouldn’t be too bad or take too long, especially if I can find some rocker runners that are inexpensive. The only problem I’m having now is that the mother-to-be wants to “keep it in the family” in terms of the claw feet. Any suggestions how I keep the claw feet and mount rockers on it as well?

To recap, I need to put rockers on a chair with the front two feet claw-footed and the back two feet rectangular. I want to try to maintain smooth, comfortable rocking and the claw-footed appearance she wants. I have some ideas, but any suggestions would be welcome.

3 replies so far

View Bluepine38's profile


3379 posts in 3052 days

#1 posted 01-04-2014 07:42 AM

Use at least 6/4 oak for the rockers, cut the bottom arc as usual, but when cutting the top arc put in two
flat spots to set the chair legs on. Put E-Z lok type threaded inserts into the bottom of the legs and use
flat head machine screws or flat head socket head capscrews to fasten the rockers to the leg bottoms.
If they want to revert back, or do not like it, they can just unscrew the rockers put pads on the chair legs
and it is changed. Just finish the rockers to match the chair.

-- As ever, Gus-the 79 yr young apprentice carpenter

View mtenterprises's profile


933 posts in 2660 days

#2 posted 01-04-2014 01:04 PM

I have seen several of these done in the past with varying degrees of success. But what Gus says sounds like a very good plan. The rockers will need to be wide to properly set the chair upon which will in itself will give strength to the rockers. The one thing you need to remember though is that the rockers add height to the chair possibly making it uncomfortable to sit in, not being able to have one’s feet touching the floor properly. The feet do the rocking not the body or legs. Of course this can be overcome by building a short matching padded foot stool with purchased claw feet (Ah, more profit to the shop and kudos to the craftsman). Also remember what Roy Underhill said about building rocking chairs, “Never whistle while working on a rocking chair or it will surely creek.”

-- See pictures on Flickr - And visit my Facebook page -

View mrunge340's profile


7 posts in 1909 days

#3 posted 01-06-2014 05:28 PM

Update: The mother-to-be doesn’t necessarily want the claw-footed look, but rather the idea of the “shabby chic” as opposed to a more contemporary look. That said, I’m tempted to take a saw to the legs and cut the “claw” portion off to reduce the height about 3 inches and make it easier to set the legs into the rockers. Thoughts?

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