Rocking Chair Build - Due Oct 5

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Blog series by Marshall updated 12-29-2015 03:46 AM 10 parts 16941 reads 24 comments total

Part 1: Selecting Lumber, Laying out Parts, and Cutting Blanks

04-20-2015 07:08 PM by Marshall | 7 comments »

I’ve been wanting to build a Maloof style rocker for about as long as I’ve been a woodworker (about 4 years I think)... I always put it off thinking that my skills werent there yet (still think that). I decided I’d wait until my wife and I were expecting our first child, and then I’d take the plunge and build one. Well, here we are. I need to have the chair done by Oct 5 :). So, my other project is going to have to wait (Arts and Crafts Dining Table). I started...

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Part 2: Preparing the Seat

04-21-2015 12:57 AM by Marshall | 2 comments »

Part 2 of my chair build—based on Hal Taylor’s plans. With the seat glued up, it was time to flatten it, trim it to size, and cut the notches for the back legs. In terms of flattening, I just wanted it flat enough to get square edges when I cut it on the table saw. I didnt need a perfect surface since it was going to be carved out and shaped later. To cut the 3”x3” back leg notches, I clamped the seat to my miter gauge that had a tall sacrificial board ...

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Part 3: Finishing the Seat

11-06-2015 09:32 PM by Marshall | 3 comments »

It’s been a long time since I made a blog post. I’ve been taking photos throughout the process, but I havent had a chance to update the blog. So here goes: The last post left off with the seat carved out and sanded to 80 grit. The next step was to shape the curve on the front with my trusty spokeshave (its not that trusty. I’m not good with hand tools, but I’m learning). Hal recommended sanding the seat at this point all the way to 1000 grit (abralon pads)...

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Part 4: Cutting and Shaping the Back Legs

11-18-2015 04:36 AM by Marshall | 1 comment »

The legs were cut from bookmatched slabs shown in post #1. The first step was cutting the pattern out of the blanks. With the legs cut, I marked the inside portion that needed to be removed: Next, I added an adder block for the seat joint. Unfortunately, I didnt get a shot of the initial glue up of the adder block. Since, the legs splay out at 6 degrees from the seat, the adder block needed to be cut at 6 degrees relative to the leg itself. To do this I made a 6 degree...

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Part 5: Cutting and Shaping the Front Legs

11-22-2015 08:39 PM by Marshall | 0 comments »

I didnt take a whole lot of photos of the front legs, but here are the few I got: Post #1 shows the slabs and the pattern that was used to outline the front legs. The first photo shows me rounding over the maloof joint to match the radius on the seat side of the joint. The maloof joint was cut the same as the back legs, but without the 6 degree splay (see the previous post). Fitting the joint: The next step was to add the adder block. I dont have a photo of it, but th...

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Part 6: Shaping the Back Braces

11-22-2015 09:18 PM by Marshall | 4 comments »

The back braces were made by cutting thin strips, “lams,” and then laminating them together on a form. Each back brace consists of four lams. The top and bottom lams are Walnut, the same as the rest of the chair. The middle two lams are quarter sawn ash which gives them strength and flexibility. The lams are just shy of 1/8” thick and were cut on the table saw. This operation is generally not something I’d consider doing on the table saw—as its pretty much...

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Part 7: Shaping the Arms

12-01-2015 03:24 AM by Marshall | 1 comment »

Next up was to shape the arms. Again, credit goes to Hal Taylor and his plans for making this build possible… The arm blanks are the two wider boards right in the center of this photo: The first step in shaping the arms is to put a cove in the blanks to form the curvature where your arms rest. This was a really interesting operation—one that I never wouldve thought to attempt. I built a jig that slides along a board clamped to my table saw. The jig holds the arm bl...

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Part 8: Coopering the Headrest

12-28-2015 04:08 AM by Marshall | 1 comment »

The plan for the headrest calls for a 29.5” radius. Hal likes to orient the grain vertically so as to flow with the rest of the chair – which I agree adds to the elegance of his design. To do this, I coopered the headrest using six billets, each 4” wide. The billets were cut from the same slab as the seat (see Part 1 and Part 2). I continued the use of the sapwood used in the seat into the headrest. Once the billets were laid out, I cut each edge at 4 degrees. ...

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Part 9: Laminating the Rockers

12-28-2015 04:26 AM by Marshall | 0 comments »

At this point, all of the pieces for the chair have been milled and roughly shaped—except the rockers. The rockers are made using the same basic process as the back braces. I cut nine 1/8” thick “lams” for each rocker. Additionally, I needed 18 shorter lams per rocker for the stacks that rise up to meet the legs at the joint. In addition, I made one lam on each leg out of maple as an accent. The maple nicely ties in with the sapwood that I used elsewhere in the ch...

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Part 10: Assembly, Sanding, and Finishing!

12-29-2015 03:46 AM by Marshall | 5 comments »

Ok, finally after about 8 months of work (in my spare time between full time job and full time school), all of the pieces are done. It was time to assemble and glue up the chair! I started by gluing on the back legs. I used clamping blocks cut at 6 degrees so that the clamps would be square with the faces of the legs which cant out at 6 degrees. Once the front legs were shaped (see Part 5), I attached the adder blocks for the arm transitions. These blocks were cut from the same s...

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