The Cedars Rocking Horse

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Project by Roz posted 10-12-2016 05:04 AM 1506 views 6 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I think I’ll be a rancher.

About 6 months ago I had the chance to visit a historic home in our area named The Cedars. The home was built about 1848 by John Evander Brown. It now is home to my niece and her husband and two children. They are involved in restoration and modernization of the home. There are four floors and 18 rooms as I recall. As I climbed the floors the top most floor does not look as if it has had any attention for many decades. In one corner near a window I found this broken heap. They were not sure what it was.

I knew it was a Rocking horse, missing the head, tail, and much of the rockers. When I said there was enough there to make a pattern they gave me the relic and a project was born.
The original is made of Cyprus with the sides cut from a single plank. Parts were fitted together with joints and slots cut through. The seat was covered in Crocker sack stuffed with raw cotton. Nails had been added over many years as repairs were made. Most were cut nails but the original nails were wrought, made one at a time from a slender bar of iron. This method of nail making is very old and helps to date the relic. So I suspect this is a very old design for a horse.
From what you see here I made a pattern and modernized the assembly process to make construction a little less labor intensive. I ask my wife to draw a head and tail of correct scale and soon we were off at a gallop.
I found that the spreader boards did not have the same angle on both sides. So I corrected that. Other problems were how to line up the side pieces. I use a reference mark on the bottom of each side piece to insure the rockers are aligned.
The side panels require a full 12 inches of width so any commercial lumber I purchased had to be joined by I did have some nice wide lumber ideal for this project. I used Walnut, Red Oak and Clear Yellow Pine (hard to find) for these horses. I think the Sugar Pine is my favorite because the wood is so unusual and hard to find.
These horses have boards not pegs for little feet to rest on and unlike the original they are pegged and screwed into place. The only parts notched into place are the head and tail. Glue and screws replace the nails in the original horse. The entire project is eleven pieces and does not take long to make. I have made 7 so far with 2 still in the shop. The first has already been delivered to its future rider. Thanks for your time.

-- Terry Roswell, L.A. (Lower Alabama) "Life is what happens to you when you are making other plans."

7 comments so far

View Hawaiilad's profile


3374 posts in 3563 days

#1 posted 10-12-2016 06:02 AM

I’ll bet there will be some pretty happy kids this holiday season. Nice job

-- Larry in Hawaii,

View Brian Wohn's profile

Brian Wohn

94 posts in 4605 days

#2 posted 10-12-2016 11:39 AM

Very nice :)

-- Brian, Pelham, AL

View crowie's profile


3286 posts in 2493 days

#3 posted 10-12-2016 09:38 PM

Very good save Terry and the new rocking horses are beautiful sir…
Love the extra detailing.
With such a mob of horses, who will be the lucky riders to enjoy your craftsmanship for many years.

PS – Did you do a pattern/plan of the horse please,
and if so would you mind sharing it, thank you.

-- Lifes good, Enjoy each new day...... Cheers from "On Top DownUnder" Crowie

View peteg's profile


4435 posts in 3365 days

#4 posted 10-13-2016 12:41 AM

Must have been a satisfying project Terry, boy the end result sure is different from what you started with :)
nicely done sir

-- Pete G: If you always do what you always did you'll always get what you always got

View Ivan's profile


15207 posts in 3409 days

#5 posted 10-13-2016 05:54 AM

Nice collection. You will make many children happy.

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View SteveMI's profile


1142 posts in 3836 days

#6 posted 10-13-2016 08:56 PM

Interesting design, much different than the typical bent runners. Really neat to bring forward an old design.


View Roz's profile


1707 posts in 4328 days

#7 posted 10-15-2016 03:06 PM

Thanks to you all!

-- Terry Roswell, L.A. (Lower Alabama) "Life is what happens to you when you are making other plans."

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