Hal Taylor Rocking Chair #8: Week 6 - Back Braces and Head Rest

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by NY_Rocking_Chairs posted 06-12-2009 08:22 PM 8324 reads 2 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 7: Front leg joints and arms attached Part 8 of Hal Taylor Rocking Chair series Part 9: Rockers shaped and attached... »

Welcome again to another edition of Hal Taylor Rocking Chair building…

After attaching the arms and shaping their joints I flip the chair over and sand out the leg-seat joints on the bottom. This way even when the customer flips the chair over or is laying on the floor looking up at the bottom of their chair, everything looks spectacular.

I keep some 1” thick styrofoam pads that I can put work on without worrying about scratching or marring it on my work surface…
Chair Upside Down

During the week I cut all the back braces to line up the bottoms. Essentially you line them up, clamp them together and run them through the band saw to make all the bottoms even. Then adder pieces are glued to the back side of all the bottoms:
Back Brace Adders

Hal included a CNC’d wood template for both the bottom and top of the back braces. You trace the template to the back brace band saw the shape and then use the oscillating spindle sander to both feather in the adder piece so there is a smooth transition to the rest of the back brace, and you round over the end of the back brace so it fits in the seat holes.

Here is the bottom shape:
Back Brace Bottom

Here are all the back braces fit to their respective holes (ignore the clamps and strap for now):
Back Brace Fitup

For the tops, again use the template provided, then use the spindle sander to shape and round over the ends. I have a block of wood drilled the same way the head rest holes get drilled so I can sit it next to the sander and trial fit the tops as I go.

Then I sand all 7 back braces with 60-grit. They then go through the router to round over the sides of the braces and then I finish sanding all 7 through to 500-grit. Both ends of the back braces are then dipped in paraffin wax so the finish does not make then stick to the chair. The back braces are free-floating and allowed to rotate a little bit in the finished chair.

Starting with the head rest we made during week one, the inner radius is band-sawn and sanded and then the outer radius is band sawn and sanded:
Head Rest Band Sawn

The ends are then cut on the table saw using an angle jig. This matches the ends of the head rest to the back legs of the chair. I cut the head rest within 1” of its final length and then start taking 1/8” to 1/4” strips off each end, adjusting the angle each time to ensure I get the perfect fit:
Head Rest Markup

Once the perfect fit is achieved, the 3 screw holes per side are drilled and the head rest is screwed to the legs. This way when we mark it, we know it will go back in the same location.

Now that we have the head rest fit perfectly to the legs we can mark where the top of the headrest meets the tops of the legs. Then the top and bottom curves are marked and cut on the band saw:
Top and Bottom Curves Cut

Now the head rest almost looks like it belongs with the rest of the chair:
Head Rest Fitup

The 7 back brace hole locations are then marked on the bottom of the head rest. Then with the head rest set between the legs a marking guide is used to mark the head rest for how the back braces will align to it. This way when we drill the back brace holes we know what angle to make them. I have a bench top Grizzly drill press and this 7” head rest barely fits. Hal tells you to use a 10mm bit, I was using a 5/8” bit until I got the 10mm because I was turning pens and this worked out just fine.

The holes are drilled both straight into the back brace and then at an angle so the than back braces can flex and the tops can move back and forth in the hole. This may sound complicated and difficult. Personally after drilling each straight hole I just hold the head rest, slip it onto the drill bit (while it is turning in the press) and rotate the head rest and mill out the hole. If you are not comfortable doing this, Hal shows you a jig to make.

Now we have 7 holes in the head rest bottom:
Head Rest Holes

Now that the head rest holes are drilled, the back braces are shaped, sanded and waxed, we can assemble the top of the chair. The headrest is glued to the back legs, the six 4” screws are driven in and plugs are glued into the screw holes:
Head Rest Glued

Since the head rest is screwed into place I sanded and final shaped the headrest to back leg joints. Tomorrow I will round over the top of the head rest and final sand the head rest and tops of the back legs.

Tomorrow will also see the rockers final shaped and attached to the chair, essentially completing the chair except for final sanding and finishing.

-- Rich, anybody want a peanut?

2 comments so far

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4580 days

#1 posted 06-12-2009 11:39 PM

Great blog, great chair.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View NY_Rocking_Chairs's profile


533 posts in 4843 days

#2 posted 06-13-2009 01:23 PM

Unfortunately, an hour after posting this my boss called and asked me to come into work on Saturday, so anyone hoping to see a completed chair on Saturday, I will do my best, but it all depends on how the day at work goes…

-- Rich, anybody want a peanut?

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics