basics in designing rocking chairs


Hi,
Are there any general dimensions or hard rules in making rocking chairs?
Is there an angle to follow for the rockers from front to back or out to in or something? or how long rockers should be?
thanks,
NORY
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Hi Nory,
I've been building rocking chairs for at least 20 years. For a good balanced chair, the overall heigth of the chair is proportional to the length of the rockers. The tilt back, of the backrest, when the chair is stationary is optimally 7 to 8 degrees, whether the seat - backrest is angled at 90 degrees. The rockers have to be angled back (front "toes" out or back "heels" in) at the same angle or the rocker is apt to creep across the floor.
The arc (degrees) of the rockers of an adult chair is greater than that of a child's chair. The reason for this: Adults tend to ease themselves into a chair. A child tends to plop themselves into a chair. If the rockers are too arced, when they plop themselves into the chair, the top of the backrest will "fly" forward and smack them in the back of the head.
Want some great inspiration, study Hal Taylor: http://www.haltaylor.com/new_page_21.htm
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As advice to a newbie in building rocking chairs, I would suggest the first effort be made from a plan, as when I tried to design my own all the parts didn't go together all that well - I had no insight as to the varying angles for the mortises and tenons in the lower frame of the chair....so I went out and bought a book that had a plan and it came out just fine. My second chair was my original design built with the lessons learned and insights from having built the first from the plan.
Mutt
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Pig wrote:

I second that opinion. I've designed a lot of my own furniture, but I wouldn't attempt a rocking chair until I built one from a plan first. Too many angles to keep up with. And if you make all 90 degree angles to simplify, the chair would be uncomfortable and wouldn't look right either.
DonkeyHody "Don't ever wrestle with a pig. You'll both get muddy, but the pig likes it."
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Wed, Jan 25, 2006, 4:39am (EST-3) snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (Sonny) sayeth: <snip> A child tends to plop themselves into a chair. If the rockers are too arced, when they plop themselves into the chair, the top of the backrest will "fly" forward and smack them in the back of the head. <snip>
And, the downside is?
JOAT You only need two tools: WD-40, and duct tape. If it doesn't move and it should, use WD-40. If it moves and shouldn't, use the tape.
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J T wrote:

10 to 12 degrees usually solves the problem. And reduce, a bit, the back of the rocker recurve, also.
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Wed, Jan 25, 2006, 3:42am (EST-3) snipped-for-privacy@i-manila.com.ph doth asketh: Are there any general dimensions or hard rules in making rocking chairs? <snip>
Yep. Make 'em wider for a big ass.
JOAT You only need two tools: WD-40, and duct tape. If it doesn't move and it should, use WD-40. If it moves and shouldn't, use the tape.
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Wed, Jan 25, 2006, 7:54pm snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (JT) On Wed, Jan 25, 2006, 3:42am (EST-3) snipped-for-privacy@i-manila.com.ph did ask: : Are there any general dimensions or hard rules in making rocking chairs? <snip>
To which I responded: Yep. Make 'em wider for a big ass.
Yes, I realize most of you considered that a wise-ass response, and un-called for. On the contrary. I make a kid's puzzle rocker. Years back a grandmother oohed & ahed over them. But, didn't buy. Reason? She told me her two young grandchildren, 3 & 4 if I recall right, were too fat to fit in them - her words. So, I widened my "standard-sized" patterns about 6"; and now, any kid can fit in my rockers, unless he/she is vastly overweight.
JOAT You only need two tools: WD-40, and duct tape. If it doesn't move and it should, use WD-40. If it moves and shouldn't, use the tape.
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Issues 90 and 91 of Woodwork magazine have plans and an article to build a Craftsman style rocking chair. I've built the chair and it is a very comfortable chair. Paul Sellers has taught many students to build the chair. You can answer a lot of your questions with these articles.
I would use some ones plans for the first chair. If you get something wrong in dimensions it can ruin your effort.
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