Rocking Horse - Pattern Routing

  • Advertise with us
Project by Sandy posted 09-20-2010 10:20 PM 7312 views 1 time favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is a rocking horse which I made out of walnut and maple for my grandson, Ian. Due to the facts that (1) Ian was about to get a new cousin; (2) the front and rear legs, and the rockers all required duplicate parts; and (3) I wanted to be able to accurately lay out the parts on the hardwood so that the grain would be in the correct direction, I decided it would be best to first make accurate mdf patterns. The mdf patterns were arranged on the hardwood, and the hardwood was marked for rough cutting using a Festool Jig Saw. I then used double faced tape to attach the mdf to the rough cut hardwood for pattern routing (which I did on my router table). The individual body parts (head, neck, body, and tail) were assembled using my Festool Domino. The maple inlays (representing the harness) were done using my Festool OF-1400 Router and MFS guides. The Domino was also used to assemble the rockers and the spacers. The rocking horse was sanded using an RO-125 and ETS-125, and then it was finished using Tung oiled. Now that Ian has his new cousin, I’ll be using the mdf patterns to make a stablemate once she’s a few months older. I had never done any pattern routing before, but having done it, I highly recommend it for projects like this where individual parts have to be duplicated, and they’re not susceptible to straight cuts.

11 comments so far

View branch's profile


1142 posts in 4651 days

#1 posted 09-20-2010 10:43 PM

nice rocking horse well don i like it nice present

View CampD's profile


1833 posts in 4983 days

#2 posted 09-20-2010 10:50 PM

Looks good in walnut, I’ve built the same house years ago out of maple.
Good Idear on making patterns, wish I had, dont know where the paper ones I had went :(

-- Doug...

View huff's profile


2828 posts in 4782 days

#3 posted 09-20-2010 10:58 PM

Sandy, Great job on the rocking horse. Those are great plans to work with. I’m suprised they are still available. I built a rocking horse for my first granddaughter 20 years ago from those plans. The rocking horse is still around and my granddaughter is expecting her first child this November, so the horse will be off to the next generation. (My first Great Grandchild).

-- John @

View Sandy's profile


249 posts in 5421 days

#4 posted 09-21-2010 01:23 AM

Actually, I got the plans at Woodcraft. They had one there that was supplied to them. They also had another one (but no plans) at the local Rockler store. One of their customers was making them to sell. Also, plans for a very similar version are available through Shopsmith. The easy part was cutting out the parts. The hard part was getting everything aligned.

View ND2ELK's profile


13494 posts in 5271 days

#5 posted 09-21-2010 05:35 AM

Good looking rocking horse. Thanks for posting.

God Bless

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View Roz's profile


1707 posts in 5283 days

#6 posted 09-21-2010 07:23 AM

Nice Job. That was a beautiful piece of Walnut.

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

View Sandy's profile


249 posts in 5421 days

#7 posted 09-21-2010 08:13 AM


Thank you. When it comes to rocking horses, you “rock”. I just looked at your projects, and in the time it took me to make that one, you’ve made entire herds.

It was actually several beautiful pieces of walnut, including a few from Atlanta Wood Products, and one very special piece that I got at Peachtree Woodworking (It was about 15” wide and had been steam treated, which gave it a very dark, uniform color, along with the width needed to enable me to cut out both rockers without laying up narrower pieces, thereby avoiding seams in the rockers.). If you look closely, you can see the difference between the darker, relatively grain-free rockers (and their spreaders) and the body in the last two photos.

I know how much time it took me (although I essentially built it twice, given the creation of the mdf patterns), and I know what the wood cost, particularly since I was very picky about matching grain, etc., so when I’ve been asked what I would charge for one, I’ve simply told people they didn’t want to know, but having seen your work, I’m curious about what you sell them for and what patterns, jigs, etc. you use. Frankly, I think it would be ideal to have a “sky hook” to hold the body in place, while aligning the legs and the rockers below it, so I actually considered building a fixture to hold a vise from the ceiling in my shop. Eventually, I wound up with the body (upside down) in my Veritas twin screw vise while playing with lots of clamps, etc. How do you do the assembly?


View Skylark53's profile


2868 posts in 4557 days

#8 posted 09-21-2010 08:43 AM

This is a great project that will be enjoyed for many years by many children. Thanks for sharing your techniques .

-- Rick, Tennessee, John 3:16

View oldoak's profile


56 posts in 4476 days

#9 posted 09-21-2010 01:52 PM

Very nice job on the horse.

View mahadevwood's profile


415 posts in 4516 days

#10 posted 09-21-2010 03:13 PM

great post…thanks for sharing it…

View Ken90712's profile


18123 posts in 4686 days

#11 posted 01-12-2011 03:35 AM

Greaat job thats one cool Horse!!!!!

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics