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Rocking Chair: An Online Course

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Blog series by HappyHowie updated 04-04-2016 05:21 PM 16 parts 26019 reads 32 comments total

Part 1: Need Reference to a Good Book on Chair Making

01-18-2016 04:49 PM by HappyHowie | 6 comments »

Last week I surprised myself by signing up for an online woodworking course. I am expecting this course will help extend my woodworking skill set. Building a rocking chair will be a leap into unknown territory for me. I do not even know the terms or names given to chair parts. I am reassured that I will come out of this experience okay because I will get guidance from a master woodworker. I won’t be alone in new territory. I signed on a week late. I am expecting the full scale dra...

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Part 2: Woodworking Begins

01-23-2016 04:53 AM by HappyHowie | 1 comment »

USPS somehow lost the chair’s full scale plans. They scanned them leaving the last main distribution center and then never got scanned again. They were packed in a shipping tube so it should have been unique enough to stand out. Eventually we worked things out to get a new set to me. That occurred yesterday, Thursday afternoon. By Friday evening I have the plans mounted to 3 by 4 feet backer boards. I have used marker or masonite boards to etch the curved chair parts. That step was d...

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Part 3: Plans Finally Delivered: Lost in the Post Office

01-30-2016 02:55 PM by HappyHowie | 4 comments »

Yeah, somehow my local post office had lost the plans for 10 days. In the meantime, I was able to get the full-sized plans printed at a location near me with the loss of just a few days. This remote printing allowed me to start cutting and shaping the chair part templates.

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Part 4: Convex Curves: Does Anyone Here Recommend Compass Planes?

02-16-2016 03:41 PM by HappyHowie | 2 comments »

I am working on my back legs for this rocking chair. The concave or outside curves are straight forward in shaving and smoothing the curves; using a block plane or hand plane works great. I initially used my pattern with a flush router bit. Now I am using hand planes, spokeshaves and card scrappers to match the two legs. Where I need help is with the convex curves; those inside curves. My spokeshave has been helpful, but I am wondering if I should add a compass plane to my toolse...

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Part 5: JIGs Needed to Make This Chair

02-28-2016 04:02 PM by HappyHowie | 0 comments »

There is always a need to make JIGs so you can make something in woodworking. To make this rocking chair there are many JIGs required. Here are a few I have made for this project. There will be others needed as I get into this build further. A side slat sanding JIG. It was important to sand these side chair slats the same so that the tenons that would be cut later would be precisely the same size: 1/2 inches square. Saw burns on cherry… Orbit sander on seven slats at one ti...

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Part 6: Jeff Miller's Router Mortising JIG

02-28-2016 04:36 PM by HappyHowie | 0 comments »

To fasten the rockers to this rocking chair’s four legs and to fasten the top of the back legs to the chair’s crest rail, I need to make mortises so I can fit loose tenons. Making these mortises would be easy if I owned an expensive power tool: the Festool Domino. It on my wish list, but it is further down the list or at least below my top expensive priority, a Saw Stop cabinet table saw. I have already had a shop accident on my Porter Cable table saw. It was a silly act that d...

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Part 7: Clamping Form for Bending 8 Strips to Make Rockers

02-28-2016 04:52 PM by HappyHowie | 1 comment »

I have bought the 3/4 inch plywood I will need in order to make the bending form JIG to make this chair’s two rockers. I got a clarification from Tom, my online instructor, for the undocumented radius for the outer form’s radius. The inner radius was clearly marked on the full sized plans to be 42 inches. I did not see any documentation for the outer’s curve radius, but it could be deduced with math. The rockers are made from eight 1/8 inch thick strips plus two clampi...

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Part 8: Router Circle JIG or Trammel Arm

03-02-2016 02:29 AM by HappyHowie | 0 comments »

In order to make the rockers for this rocking chair I needed to make a pattern. From these patterns I would make a clamping form from plywood. I will cut eight 1/8” thick slats of my cherry hardwood for each rocker and glue them between these clamping forms. I will use gluing cauls on each side of the clamping form. They will be made from 1/8 inch masonite or hardboard. I will cover them with paste wax so glue will not adhere to them. Thus, the inner form will have a radius of 42 i...

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Part 9: Glue Form for Rockers

03-03-2016 04:42 AM by HappyHowie | 0 comments »

The instruction was to cut two patterns in order to glue and clamp the laminated rockers; one was for the inside curve that is a 42 inch radius and the other was the outside radius of the form. It would be the 43 1/4 inch radius form. I did cut the patterns, but then I questioned the need since I was going to cut three 3/4 inch plywood pieces for each pattern. So instead of working from the pattern to cut the 3/4 inch three layers I decided to use my router circle jig and cut the three i...

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Part 10: Double-Sided Tape to Attach These Guide Rails?

03-05-2016 03:38 PM by HappyHowie | 5 comments »

I need help from someone with more experience in using routers in special applications. I am making a jig that will let my router slide along a sled type jig. The purpose is to smooth the bandsaw blade marks for the underside curve I will cut on the rocking chair’s arm rest. This is so I can get a good fit for gluing the arm rests to the upper arm rail. There are two guide rails that I need to mount to the bottom of my router’s base plate. Initially I was thinking I would...

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Part 11: Followed Advice about Router Guide Rails

03-09-2016 09:21 PM by HappyHowie | 2 comments »

I took the advice I got from Captain Sckully seriously. I have built a new base from acrylic and then from the topside drilled holes so I could fasten the guide rails in place on the base with screws. This will be a safer solution and it will be repeatable. I have also completed the construction of the clamping forms in which I will glue and clamp the rockers for this chair. This bent lamination is based on the 42 inch inner radius and the 43 1/4 inch outer radius specified in the pl...

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Part 12: Bandsaw Finger JIG or Push Point

03-18-2016 01:15 PM by HappyHowie | 2 comments »

My rocking chair instructor used a large block of wood in which he cut a Vee pointy end to cut his back slats for the chair. He clamped this block that he called a “push point” to the table of his bandsaw at a distance of 3/4 inch from the blade. With the initial patterned curve on a wide board cutout he held that curved side against the Vee and thus cut off each slat on the bandsaw. I attempted to make my own push point, but I had difficulties with it. First, I did not have...

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Part 13: Pattern JIG for Bandsaw Completed

03-23-2016 10:22 PM by HappyHowie | 0 comments »

I finally got this pattern JIG for my bandsaw made and setup correctly. I have run several test pieces so I am satisfied that I can cut the rocking chair’s back slats correctly. I am comfortable that I can cut all of the back slats so the curves will be done correctly and smoothly; so they all will be the same. Part of that setup was changing my 1/2 inch bandsaw blade to my 1/4 inch blade. The curves are not that difficult but in order to follow the pattern in a smooth motion it r...

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Part 14: Twin-Blade Joinery

03-23-2016 10:36 PM by HappyHowie | 4 comments »

My instructor for this project suggested that I use spacer blocks to cut the second shoulder for the tenons to fit the mortises needed for this rocking chair. I was about to make those spacers when I received a new issue of Woodcraft Magazine. The article in the Feb/Mar 2016 issue was entitled Twin-Blade Joinery. With this method I would use twin RIP saw blades with disks or shims between the blades. With the right combination of shims I could cut tenons for the following mortise sizes cut ...

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Part 15: Loose Tenons: Festool Domino or Mortising JiGs

04-03-2016 07:11 AM by HappyHowie | 3 comments »

While viewing the rocking chair instruction, Tom McLaughlin stated that he used a three-slot router bit to make his mortises on the chair’s back legs and the corresponding rockers and crest rail. That method was used for his first rocking chair. However, when he went to Tommy Mac’s Rough Cut show they used instead Tommy Mac’s Festool Domino mortising machine. They cut the mortises with his machine and then placed Festool’s loose tenons in them. Festool calls these ...

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Part 16: Guido Henn - Holzwerken

04-04-2016 05:21 PM by HappyHowie | 2 comments »

I have seen on YouTube the German woodworker demonstrate the use of a European workbench and also routing JIGs. I did not know how many JIgs he has invented for the router until last evening. If he penetrated the United States market, I believe he could be a big hit here. I liked his design of what I believe he calls his “Magic Box”. It is a horizontal routing table with a second part that he can easily and precisely “set vertically the router in the “Z plane. ...

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