Hal Taylor Rocking Chair #1: Week 1

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Blog entry by NY_Rocking_Chairs posted 05-13-2009 12:14 AM 8667 reads 25 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Hal Taylor Rocking Chair series Part 2: Week 2, The Seat »

After having received several requests for a detailed blog of a rocking chair build I spoke with Hal Taylor and received his permission to do this. This chair is based on his first book and set of plans. He has a new book with updated plans which I am getting soon.

This is not a full-time job for me so I will be posting one week at a time since I get to spend maybe an hour every other night on the chair.

Week one sees the planing and cutting out of all the blanks. I purchase 40-50 bd ft of 8/4 lumber per chair. I like to have extra and left-over so I can choose and cut for getting the best grain and features from the wood.

There are:
3 front leg blanks
2 back legs
2 arm blanks
Pieces for the seat
Rocker blanks
Back-Brace blanks

The back legs are cutout directly out of the 2” stock board on the band saw. Then the leg is cut down from the 2” thick stock to the rough profile of the leg. A stack piece is glued to the leg where the seat joint will be. This brings the joint to more square block. The inner face where the block is glued is then cut to the appropriate angle which results in the back legs angling out as they go up. You are actually looking at the front of the legs:
Back Legs Cut

The head rest is made up of 5 to 6 pieces of wood depending on the width of the stock. These are then run on the planer to get the appropriate angle between each section. This 5-block head rest was glued up in 3 steps:
Day 1: Pieces 1 and 2 get glued together, Pieces 4 and 5 get glued together.
Day 2: Piece 3 gets glued to piece 2.
Day 3: The 2 sections are glued together (piece 3 gets glued to piece 4).
Head Rest Glued Up

The seat is glued up and awaits getting cut to size and all the joints routed to shape. This is a 5 board seat. The stock I got for this chair was the last set of boards off of a pallet, so while I got it cheap, there were no wide boards:
Seat Glued Up

The rocker blanks are cut into strips on the table saw and then glued up on the forms. Each rocker takes a day to glue up so it is a 2-day process to get the rockers glued up. These will not be touched again until the very end. It takes a lot of clamps. The angled aluminum is bolted to the form and the strips are clamped to the aluminum to keep them aligned while I get the rest of the clamps tightened up.
Rocker Glue Up

Thus ends week 1.

To answer some of the other questions…I only use Titebond III except for the rocker to leg joints, there I use epoxy-resin.

There are about 4 or 5 different router bits used in the making of this chair. Hal has a router set up for each bit so he isn’t constantly changing out his bits, I am not that rich yet.

The other specialty stuff needed involves some longer drill bits for drilling the head rest holes and the rocker to leg holes. Plug cutters are needed to cut plugs for covering the screws, as well as the countersink to match the plug cutter. The original book and plan calls for twelve 4” screws and four 1 1/2” screws, preferably stainless. A forstner bit is also used in some places.

Power tools needed are the table saw, band saw, drill press, router(s), oscillating spindle sander (one could get away without this but it is very nice to have), jointer, grinder, ROS.

As we get into the specific steps I will show you the nifty tools and toys I have found or made to make the process easier, as well as the jigs.

If you have any specific questions please feel free to PM me and I will address it in the next blog installment.

-- Rich, anybody want a peanut?

5 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


117746 posts in 4116 days

#1 posted 05-13-2009 12:26 AM

Looks like a great start Rich

View Woodhacker's profile


1139 posts in 4263 days

#2 posted 05-13-2009 01:14 AM

Rich, this looks like fun…very interesting. I like your rocker jig. I’ll be looking for updates.

Thanks for posting it.

-- Martin, Kansas

View NY_Rocking_Chairs's profile


528 posts in 4137 days

#3 posted 05-13-2009 11:45 AM

Thanks WH. I cannot take credit for the jig design, came directly from the book. You can see in the picture the paper that was the original plan that came in the mail, got glued to the form and then the whole thing cut out on a jig saw. I then melted paraffin and liberally coated the top of the form to prevent the rocker from being glued to it. The first rocker you glue up is actually part of the jig and is used to provide a more even pressure distribution. You can almost see it in the picture how the top half of the strips is actually a little smaller than the bottom half. That top half is the pressure rocker piece.

-- Rich, anybody want a peanut?

View NY_Rocking_Chairs's profile


528 posts in 4137 days

#4 posted 05-18-2009 11:05 AM

If anyone purchases Hal’s plans based on reading these blogs I would most appreciate it if you let Hal know that these blogs helped influence your decision. Just mention Rich from NY Rocking Chairs. Thanks.

-- Rich, anybody want a peanut?

View bill merritt's profile

bill merritt

203 posts in 3828 days

#5 posted 05-05-2010 05:08 AM

Like to know how this turned out, getting ready to start one.

-- Bill Merritt -Augusta Ga. woodworker

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