Top Secret....Rocker for my wife

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Blog entry by bues0022 posted 11-27-2010 07:47 PM 1104 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’ve been posting lots of questions for about a week now, emailing and messaging fellow Lumberjocks, and I’ve finally started my project so I thought I’d blog about it to keep track of my project. Progress may not be the quickest, but I’ll post what I run into along the way – the good, the bad, and the ugly!

My wife and I are thinking about finally starting a family. I just finished graduate school, got a job, and she’ll be done with her doctorate also in a few months. She has always wanted a rocking chair, “for when we have kids”, so I thought I’d try to get one made before the crying and lack of sleep sets in from a new little one.

I’ve always liked the look of the Maloof rocker, but a few things just didn’t set with me. This in no way is meant to belittle the amazing work of Sam Maloof, but I wanted to customize it a bit for myself. First: I didn’t want the front legs to be turned. Nothing on the rest of the chair is perfectly round, and the front legs seemed a little out of place. I turned to inspiration for the front legs to Hal Taylor, who uses a more shaped design. Second, Also from the Hal Taylor design, I like the lamination idea for the back slats. The added strength laminates give, flexibility for comfortable sitting, and ability to add style by using different woods for the layup appealed to me. However, I still want to keep the up-turned headrest from Maloof. I have a few more ideas of my own up my sleeves that I’ll figure out if they are possible once I get going. This will definitely be a hybrid chair!

Wood selection…UGH! I went round and round on this one for a while. Thanks to much help and may suggestions from fellow LJ’s, here’s what I have come up with: Predominantly black walnut. The seat I will be using a style similar to Paul from with his lacewood/walnut chair. The seat is .25” top layer of Walnut, 1.5” lacewood, then bottom surface is again 0.25 walnut. When shaped, the lacewood shows itself, but wrapped in walnut. I will be using the same idea, but spalted hard maple instead of lacewood. The headrest will also have some style to it. 1/3 on the right and left side will be walnut, and the middle 1/3 will be a nice piece of spalted maple. Backrests will be a layup of 4 pieces from front to back: spalted maple, walnut, spalted maple, spalted maple. The unsymmetrical layup helps keep it from looking like it was purchased, or merely just plywood. The rockers will also be a layup of alternating layers.

My wood will be purchased from a guy I found near Milwaukee who takes trees from local city’s that are cutting down trees that would otherwise end up in the landfill. He cuts them up, kiln dries them, and sells for a very reasonable price! I’m normally not a big eco-guy, but local wood is pretty cool, I can select the exact pieces from his huge stock, and the price can’t be beat.

I’m working on figuring out my exact plans as we speak, so look for another post soon detailing which ones I buy and the modifications I’m going to make to it.

-- Ryan -- Bristow, VA

5 comments so far

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3914 days

#1 posted 11-27-2010 08:05 PM

well you have me hooked…im going to enjoy this…i wont ever attempt a rocker…bad back…cant really sit much…but i love seeing them made..and with you doing some changes to this one im always up to seeing a hybrid and will enjoy your project for your wife…where is your shop and will you be able to conceal this whole thing from her…......cant wait to see the wood you pick….....grizzman

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View sras's profile


5289 posts in 3740 days

#2 posted 11-27-2010 09:41 PM

I’m looking forward to your story. A rocker is sometime in my future – I just have other projects in the queue. I find myself learning each time someone shares their story. Good luck!

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View Bearpie's profile


2601 posts in 3629 days

#3 posted 11-28-2010 12:38 AM

I am interested in following your blog if you do one and your ideas sounds great and I can visualize the end result and I do believe it will be a wonderful gift for the new mother! Good luck and I hope it is not needed!

Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View lightweightladylefty's profile


3471 posts in 4323 days

#4 posted 11-28-2010 06:15 AM


This sounds pretty exciting. Would that urban woodworker happen to be Treecycle Hardwoods in West Bend?

We’re anxious to see you progress.


-- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View bues0022's profile


250 posts in 3771 days

#5 posted 11-29-2010 01:30 AM

Looks like I goofed up my blog posting a bit – I haven’t done this before. Here’s the link to my hopefully more organized blog series:

-- Ryan -- Bristow, VA

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