I want to build a rocking chair...

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JOAT has been telling wannabe wood dorkers to build a rocker, rather than a crib or cradle, for children on the way. He's right.
We have one grandchild approaching two years old, and two more due by mid summer. Their cribs are taken care of. I'd like to build a rocking chair. Actually, maybe three or four.
I've got the plans for a Craftman style rocker recently published in Woodwork magazine. I could play jazz with that design, I suppose, but I don't want to build a Craftsman rocker. Neither do I want to build a ladder-back Shaker style, although that is a beautiful heritage.
Chairs in the style of Sam Maloof are pretty, but not what I had in mind. And there's a shop down in Texas that makes a rocker vaguely like that, that I'd buy in a heartbeat, if buying a chair was what I had in mind. At the prices they charge, I'd be paying myself minimum wage or less, to make two of them.
What I'd like to build is something in the Scandiavian style. Something Hans Wegner would have done. Or one of the fellows Krenov studied with. Something spare, strong, flowing, delicate and elegant.
What I'd like to do is buy plans. Short of that, I'd like recommendations on the best books on the genre. (As Kassay & Becksvoort are to Shaker, etc.) And experiences and tiplets (tmKB) on the chair building process. If I had time and budget this spring, I'd take a class from a chairmaker in San Francisco or Ft. Bragg, but I don't see that right now, much as I'd like to.
So, waddaya got to share?
Patriarch
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a source for free and fee plans http://woodworkersworkshop.com/resources/index.php?search=rock%20chair&andor=and
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Patriarch, Chairs I've done were from design/plans by Hal Taylor (www.haltaylor.com). They're obviously Maloof inspired but with some nice modifications to the Maloof design. He builds a really unique rocker he calls a StoryTime Rocker that has room for grandpa and the kids. Might be someplace to start for some further inspiration.
Gary in KC

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On Thu, 10 Feb 2005 13:49:30 GMT, "Gary A in KC"

TWS
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Patriarch wrote:

Gee, if you are starting from no place in particular then I'd like to write a word or two about the rocking chair back. The back of the rocker should be easy on the human back, those round dowel-type spokes are pretty tough on the back if you stay in the rocker a while.
Josie
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On Thu, 10 Feb 2005 08:56:21 -0500, the inscrutable "firstjois"

TIP: Leave the very center of the back open.
I've never understood why chairs were made with a dead-center slat or dowel. These hit you right on the bony part of your spine. I came to realize that chairs were much more comfortable when built with even- numbered vertical slats than ladder or odd-numbered v-slat chairs for that very reason.
Oddly enough, most chairs are built the uncomfortable way.
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Thu, Feb 10, 2005, 8:56am snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (firstjois) says: Gee, if you are starting from no place in particular then I'd like to write a word or two about the rocking chair back. The back of the rocker should be easy on the human back, those round dowel-type spokes are pretty tough on the back if you stay in the rocker a while.
No prob. You get (or you could probably make) one of those chair pads for your back, and one for your butt. Amazing how comfortable they can make an otherwise not so comfortable chair.
JOAT Intellectual brilliance is no guarantee against being dead wrong. - David Fasold
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The 2 rockers I've built use curved, laminated back slats. Probably 1 1/4" wide with total thickness probably just under 3/8" or so. The curve gives tremendous lumbar support and the thickness gives a small amount of flex for comfort. A real nice trick is how they are inserted into the seat and the crest rail. The top and bottom of the slats are shaped down to round dowel shapes. Then the mating holes in the seat and crest rail are drilled twice. Once dead vertical, then a second time slightly offset and at about an 8 degree angle. This gives the slats some built it flex and stress relief to further help the slats conform to your back. Overall, everyone who has sat in the chairs has been surprised how comfortable they are for a solid wood chair and that you can sit in them for a great length of time without fatigue or discomfort.
Gary in KC

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I've seen similar techiques used for dining chairs - in Woodwork magazine. Haven't built those yet either.
Any posted pictures of your work you'd care to share?
Patriarch
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On Thu, 10 Feb 2005 18:40:59 -0600, the inscrutable Patriarch

I sent an email request to them wanting to start my subscription to their mag a few issues earlier. It has been 5 days and I've heard nothing back from them. I guess they don't want new subscribers. Go figure!
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Personal experience chiming in... I've got a 4 1/2 yr old and two 3 yr old twins. We have a "rocker" in every room. I too agree with JOAT, that they've been invaluable, but they certainly have seen a dramatic drop-off in use. Seem's like aroun 2 1/2, for all three, the rocker was used less frequently, in lieu of them climbing into directly into bed for book-reading-time.
We actually have one rocker and two gliders. Far and away, the gliders are preferred here. The motion is preferred and they don't squeak.
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Thu, Feb 10, 2005, 2:44pm (EST+5) snipped-for-privacy@conroy-family.net (patrickconroy) says: Personal experience chiming in... <snip> rocker was used less frequently, in lieu of them climbing into directly into bed for book-reading-time. We actually have one rocker and two gliders. Far and away, the gliders are preferred here. The motion is preferred and they don't squeak.
Also personal experience. After they kiddies are in bed, the rocker is for you, to collapse in. I prefer a rocker over a glider, and try a small rug under the chair if it squeaks.
JOAT Intellectual brilliance is no guarantee against being dead wrong. - David Fasold
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I spent a bunch of time designing and building a rocker before myu first child was born. I have details on my website: http://the-wildings.com/shop/furniture/rocker /
The finished picture can be found by backing up a directory.
Let me know if you have any questions.
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Joe in Denver
my woodworking website:
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I have tons of questions! First, thank you for the link. I'd seen your site before, but hadn't recalled the Eastlake style rocker.
Your plans for sale section mentioned a 'coming soon', postponed due to a promotion. Did the forthcoming plans include a measured drawing for the rocker? And is that still a someday project?
Patriarch
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Thu, Feb 10, 2005, 2:22am (EST-1) snipped-for-privacy@nospam.comcast.dot.net (Patriarch) claims to say: JOAT has been telling wannabe wood dorkers to build a rocker, rather than a crib or cradle, <snip> So, waddaya got to share?
You're allllllmost right. I never said anything about cribs.
My personal peference is Stickley. But, I'll post this for ya. Check Tauton on designing a rocker, Black & Decker, and Inspiration - go down to chairs. I don't recall if I've got more stuff there or not. http://community-2.webtv.net/Jakofalltrades/WOODSTUFF /
JOAT Intellectual brilliance is no guarantee against being dead wrong. - David Fasold
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snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (J T) wrote in

Thank you, again. I've bookmarked the Taunton article, regarding the physics. My guess is that I'm going to need to draw my own plans.
Hal Taylor wants a bundle for his, and I'd still need to revise it to be close to what I want. Not the path I'll choose this time.
The child's rocker from plywood I found on the FWW site looks like something to make in a Saturday session for the first grandchild...
Patriarch
BTW, I'm usually almost right. Which means, I suppose, generally wrong somehow. ;-)
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Thu, Feb 10, 2005, 6:46pm (EST-1) snipped-for-privacy@nospam.comcast.dot.net (Patriarch) sayeth: <snip>The child's rocker from plywood I found on the FWW site looks likesomething to make in a Saturday session for the first grandchild...
I've made a kids puzzle chair for years now. Got plans out of a magazine, but made so many changes, it's not the same chair anymore. Six pieces, a kid can take it apart, put it back together, then sit in it. The inspirations page has some there, to give you the idea. One nice thing about that, you can take one apart for storage (when the grandkids go backhome), or to take on trips. They cost pratically nothing to make, and once you've got patterns, probably not even half an hour to make. And, I've often seen them vastly overpriced, at least I consider $100 vastly overpriced for one. No prob.
JOAT Intellectual brilliance is no guarantee against being dead wrong. - David Fasold
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A" Wood" Magazine had plans a few years ago, maybe 8, for a child's rocking chair with a cut out Teddy Bear design in the back. I have made several for grandchildren and others, using my variations. They have been big hits. Children don't actually sit in one long enough to get uncomfortable. Plans may still be available at their web site. They are for size about 1 - 4, maybe 5, years old. BEWARE, the engineering is terrible. Revise the seat to rocker geometry so that seat is level when load is put on it, not level when empty, then tilted forward with load as child slides out and back bonks them on back of head.
Walt Conner snipped-for-privacy@onemain.com

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I saw that one, I think, doing a Google search. That, or one that you or another woodworker had made. I appreciate the note on the engineering.
What I want to do first is make a chair for my daughter-in-law. Easy to sit in. Easy to get up from.
Thanks for the help, Walt.
Patriarch
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We have a rather large rocker that my wife absolutely loved when our kids were small ... it was from an unfinished furniture place in CT. While I don't have a detailed, measured drawing, I can take scaled photos and forward to you. You'll have to drop some spaces and hit reverse on the address below; ignore the local machine address.
Regards,
Rick
mirrormirror
127.0.0.0:80
m o c t o d r r t o d d a i r t t a c d k - g n
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