Windsor Style Rocking Chair Project

It’s been a long time since I’ve been in the shop; there have been many changes and obstacles that we’ve overcome in the last two years; but nonetheless, we finally have a new project coming out of the shop!!

Needless to say, I am very excited to put this post out!!

This project started as a thought that I would love to make a Windsor style rocking chair meaning that I wanted to work with green wood as much as was possible; to use the tapered mortise/tenon that is the hallmark of Windsor joinery, to shape as many of the parts by hand on the shave horse as I could; and generally produce a chair in the Windsor tradition.

There were, as one could imagine, many challenges along the way: the shave horse had to be completely remade after the move as the other one did not survive, riving and hewing presented their own challenges; but at the end of the day, the whole project started to come together and take shape as each of those obstacles was overcome and overall, the chair itself guided each step of the process.

Of course, makers do not make in a vacuum, I certainly have to give credit to those who helped me along; specifically, I give a great Thank you to Peter Galbert, author of The Chairmaker’s Notebook, and a wonderful article for Fine Woodworking entitled Windsor Rocker without Special Tools (FWW, 2011, Taunton Press).

So, now with all of that being said, let’s get to some process photos…

Everything starts with some sort of layout, whether it be a “Story stick,” a pattern (as seen here), or a drawing; it all has to be layed out before we can put metal to wood. This is the pattern that I had designed for the legs.
Using the Peter Galbert Mirror Trick to keep everything lined up while we bore the holes for the legs and arm posts.
Shaping the seat
Spindle making time!
Fairing the Posts; of course, I needed supervision on this task, so Cali and Tascha helped out!
Fairing the back of the seat using an 1880’s Compass Plane that most folks would relegate to a museum. Tools are meant to be used; let’s get that thing tuned up and happy to do its job again!
Shaping the tenons; I had to make the tenon shaper; but that wasn’t too bad; plus, once it’s made and in my tool kit, I won’t have to make another one next time we build!
Fitting the legs
Checking and fitting the spindles for the back
Legs in and glued up; now it’s time to make sure that all four leg bottoms hit the floor in the same plane….
Layout for the arms
Test fitting the arms
Rocker is sawn out
But it has to be faired before it can function…
And now I have made a rocking stool…although I’m not sure that would catch on, so I decided to add a back to it
Finish on, ready to put into service!

This chair was given to my Mom as a birthday gift and the finish allowed it to live outside on the deck as a summer rocker. (Don’t all Southern Porches need one?)

I hope you enjoyed the process!!

Take care

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