Hal Taylor inspired rocking chair

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Project by bues0022 posted 02-11-2017 05:10 PM 3854 views 4 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’ve been working on this chair for a VERY long time. I started it when my wife was pregnant with our first kid….6 years ago. At least I finished it a couple months before our third child though, right? Why did it take me so long? There’s a number of reasons. First, I don’t have a very well stocked, or permanently set up shop. Up here in MN, it’s awfully testing of my drive to go run the table saw in an unheated garage when it’s -10F! Also, we moved three times between the start to the end (built a house, so house projects took priority), had a couple kids, and just life in general kept me from doing much of any woodworking. It almost seemed like it would never get done, but alas I just kept on an hour here, an hour there, modifying most of the steps of the book to accommodate my tools/skills and I finally finished.

The chair is made from spalted maple and walnut – all sourced locally from two different sawmills in SE Wisconsin and Minneapolis area of MN. The seat is a 4-ply layup of walnut/maple/walnut/walnut. Backrests are maple/walnut/walnut/ash. The backrests and rockers were laminated using custom-made forms to accommodate the changes I wanted to do – such as the longer/downward curving tails to the rockers. I used the book and plans from Hal Taylor, but modified some of the features such as the curve of the headrest to mimic more of a Maloof-style. Not only is Hal’s book very instructive, but his online “support group” helps with those clarification questions that inevitably come up with something like this. It’s very easily the most comfortable wooden chair I’ve ever sat it.

I can’t even begin to count the hundreds of hours this chair took me to make. I think I have over 200 hours of hand sanding from 36 grit all the way down to 1200 grit on the entire chair. Every step of the way was stretching my woodworking abilities (I’ve never done a non-square project before), and there are some flaws that I would have liked to not have, but in the end it’s about as good as I could have imagined it ever turning out. My wife loves it and sits in it everyday – and that’s what matters most.

-- Ryan -- Bristow, VA

17 comments so far

View Kelster58's profile


759 posts in 1831 days

#1 posted 02-11-2017 05:56 PM

That is absolutely AMAZING. You are truly a craftsman. WOW. I hope you and your family enjoy that rocking chair for many many years.

-- K. Stone “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” ― Benjamin Franklin

View AJ1104's profile


1405 posts in 2950 days

#2 posted 02-12-2017 12:59 AM

Great work sir! A true masterpiece for you and your wife to enjoy.

-- AJ

View Bobsboxes's profile


1673 posts in 3954 days

#3 posted 02-12-2017 02:42 AM

Very beautiful chair, great use of super wood.

-- Bob in Montana. Kindness is the Language the blind can see and deaf can hear. - Mark Twain

View pottz's profile (online now)


21409 posts in 2275 days

#4 posted 02-12-2017 02:51 AM

well I gotta say it was worth the effort and time spent,absoloutly gorgeous the two tone wood contrast.this is top notch buddy great job.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

View R_Stad's profile


439 posts in 3133 days

#5 posted 02-12-2017 03:17 AM

Nice work Ryan. Your persistence paid off nicely. Keep going.

-- Rod - Oregon

View WoodwolfAtl's profile


39 posts in 2896 days

#6 posted 02-12-2017 03:42 AM

Absolutely beautiful well Done!

View Andrek's profile


656 posts in 3200 days

#7 posted 02-12-2017 12:42 PM

This my friend, is a work of art, bravo, now somebody will spend even more time enjoying it than you making it.
Keep on making saw dust , it’s well worth the effort.

-- andrek

View Jeremymcon's profile


420 posts in 1970 days

#8 posted 02-12-2017 01:03 PM

Wow! Gorgeous. Those epic projects can be so satisfying once they’re finished. Better to take your time and do it right than to rush and end up with a finished product you’re not completely satisfied with.

View a1Jim's profile


118297 posts in 4868 days

#9 posted 02-12-2017 01:06 PM

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 4157 days

#10 posted 02-12-2017 01:21 PM

This rocker is absolutely beautiful. It’s a beautiful design with lots of nice details and craftsmanship.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View CrazyRussianWoodShop's profile


192 posts in 1936 days

#11 posted 02-12-2017 03:26 PM

It is certainly going to be your legacy…
Excellent job!!

-- Michael Makarevich (CrazyRussianWoodShop):

View Eli Adamit's profile

Eli Adamit

744 posts in 4580 days

#12 posted 02-12-2017 05:28 PM

Very nice.

-- Eli Adamit, Israel

View oldrivers's profile


2823 posts in 2857 days

#13 posted 02-12-2017 07:48 PM

A real standout beautiful chair, wonderful work and finish.

-- Soli Deo gloria!

View bues0022's profile


256 posts in 4450 days

#14 posted 02-13-2017 01:49 PM

Thank you everyone for the kind words. I certainly couldn’t have done it without the support from those who have done this before me. I’ve learned a lot about myself through this project – it is possible to complete seemingly impossible projects when you break them down to manageable small steps, have patience, and a healthy dose of stubbornness!

-- Ryan -- Bristow, VA

View builtinbkyn's profile


3031 posts in 2231 days

#15 posted 02-13-2017 02:19 PM

Wow truly beautiful craftsmanship. It may have taken a while, but the results were worth waiting for ;) Beautiful wood selection and pairing. The joinery looks flawless. Maybe you could teach me some of your patience. :)

-- Bill, Yo! Brooklyn & Steel City :)

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