TheWoodWhisperer Woodworkers Fighting Cancer Rocking Horse #1: Making the cut

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Blog entry by PurpLev posted 10-09-2011 02:46 PM 4503 reads 1 time favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of TheWoodWhisperer Woodworkers Fighting Cancer Rocking Horse series Part 2: Getting in Shape and putting it together »

This project is building a childs rocking chair. Marc at is organizing this and this is a charity fund raising project towards woodworkers with cancer. For more info please visit and join in on the project. it is a nice and fun project to work on, can involve working with the kids in various steps, and is god a good cause both in terms of the charity and in terms of the rocking horse for the kids!

For a while there I really wanted to join in on this project for many reasons but wasn’t sure if could make the Nov 14th deadline to complete the project in order for it to count towards the charity collection so I held back.

Today the stars aligned and I decided to ‘just do it’ and went to Lowes and HD to see how they measure up with the materials. I needed a 3/4”x20”x72” pre-laminated pine panel. I could probably glue up a panel of hardwoods, but I just wanted to skip the milling and dive into the ‘fun part’ hoping to involve my daughter in the process and keep it less formal.

Before I left to the store I printed out the template/plan and tape the pages to make the fullsize template:

First chance to engage the kids, I let my daughter cut out the general shape of the horse:

When working with kids, you gotta remember that papers are for drawing and coloring. and just cutting the template out is supposedly not good enough:

Mind you, this template AS IS is probably for a toddler sized horse and not for a 3-4+ y/o. one can probably scale up the template and get a larger panel, but sticking to the plan I found it smaller than expected – just a note.

Lowes had pre laminated panels labeled “stainable panel” with no reference to what material it is (looked like pine) but it was in the form of a butcher block (smaller pieces that are put together to make the full length) and I was hoping for full 72” length boards just laminated together to get the 20” width so off to HD I went only to find the same thing there. the quality was not too exciting and I literally took the entire stack off the shelf in hopes to find a good panel. I ended up choosing the one that looked as flat as can be with the least amount of imperfecsions (read – least as in still has ‘some’) at least on this one the glue lines didn’t fail like on some other panels…. oh well.

So, back to the shop. using the plan I roughly drew and located the parts to be cut out on the large panel to make sure it all fits and to get an idea where to place them properly I mostly freehand drew the parts as there doesn’t seem to be any need for high precision other than keeping the support angles the same between the 3 support parts (which holds the 2 horse body parts together at a set angle):

Next I sprayed some adhesive on the plan templates which makes them into stickers:

and stuck the ‘stickers’ on the panel per the rough locations (only some parts had templates):

To cut out the parts I used a Bosch 20tpi scroll blades on a jigsaw. these are as narrow of a blade as I’ve seen and they allow for very very tight corner cuts (almost a straight 90…almost):

Once the parts were cut out of the large panel I secured them to the workbench and continued to remove the remaining intricate curved lines if needed. This is where holdfasts really helped a lot as the parts were secured to the bench and I had both hands to navigate the saw around the cut lines:

Once the first template part was cut out as close to the line as possible (I actually found myself becoming pretty bold and managed to get right on the line for a good number of cuts which was surprising) I used it to trace the other part (for all parts requiring doubles):

Those parts which were not ‘on-the-money’ or ‘on-the-line’ I used a (cheap BORG) rasp to get onto the line:

and the the same but also doubled up the parts that had duplicates (in this case it doesn’t really matter how accurately parts are duplicated, but just a good practice):

In the above picture I used a hand plane to keep the line straight (this part is going to be butted against the body of the horse and should remain straight).

And so, with a few parts shaped (left) and still some that remain to be shaped (right) I am done for the day. Started late, ending late (~3 hours total work), but am where I wanted to be – have parts cut off.

Next is completing shaping the rest of the parts. marking and drilling the holes for the screws, rounding over, and sanding parts smooth and clean and then assembly which can be done with my daughter (she has already asked to help me with it).

For more info, I encourage you to go and check and join in on the project.

Thanks for reading,

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

5 comments so far

View Karson's profile


35201 posts in 4908 days

#1 posted 10-09-2011 05:35 PM

Sharon: How come you didn’t let her with the jigsaw. I’m sure she would have had fun with that.

And you know the pattern needed a women s touch with the coloring.

Looking great.

A tip for a new tool. A 1” wide sander does great with bringing parts into alignment and smoothing off rough edges.

I’ve had mine for 40 years and it’s got many a mile on it. I’m currently using 1” X 42” belts that are made with ceramic. They are metal working belts and they last and last I clean them off with 409 if they get pitch on them from pine. I used it last night to take a rough burr of some 1/8” brass rod for some wooden hinges.

There are a great tool.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View RussInMichigan's profile


600 posts in 3288 days

#2 posted 10-09-2011 11:11 PM

I’m doing it too!

View PurpLev's profile


8551 posts in 4156 days

#3 posted 10-10-2011 12:25 AM

Karson – you know it! FYI, I let her use the screwdriver, but cutting tools….. I think I’ll wait a few more years for that one.

and here I was trying hold off on new tool purchases. ;)

Russ – nice! looks like you are already done.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View RussInMichigan's profile


600 posts in 3288 days

#4 posted 10-10-2011 12:36 PM

Thanks, PurpLev,
Am I done? Nope. I should be close to finished today, Monday, 10/10/11. I’ll have the painting done, but my wife has cut leather from an old coat for the saddle and she is making fringe from an old leather purse for mane and tail. I’m sure it will be quite a sight.

To facilitate the upholstered seat, I’m adding a block to the bottom of the saddle so it can be secured with screws.

By the way, I had a problem with the glue joints failing in the laminated panel. I spent more time than I cared to piecing it back together and making additional internal supports.

I saw your second blog entry and it’s looking good. You’ve got a great assistant and test pilot.

View PurpLev's profile


8551 posts in 4156 days

#5 posted 10-10-2011 03:54 PM

oh wow Russ… thats quite a horse… I would keep it for myself ;)

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

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