Arts & Crafts Rocking Chair

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Project by dtblack posted 05-26-2019 01:44 PM 1158 views 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is an Arts & Crafts rocking chair with a nod to the Stickley design.

I did not have access to quarter sawn oak, so I broke with tradition and used American black cherry for the build. This is one of seven chairs built at the same time. Six of these chairs were finished as traditional dining room chairs to make a complete set for my house. Any finished parts of the chairs that were not an exact match for the dining room set, or had slight blemishes, were used on the seventh chair with the idea that it would be converted to a rocker at the end of the project. This allowed me to try bent lamination techniques for the first time when forming the runners.

The whole set employed almost 170 mortise and tenon joints and the entire project took me nearly 9 months to complete. It was a real test to my endurance by the end of the build – it almost broke my woodworking spirit.

Finish was a shop mixed wiping varnish – 66% polyurethane, 33% mineral spirits. I did not use any stain as it is impossible to beat the patina of black cherry after it has started to warm up and glow after a few years of exposure!

The upholstery is black leather and was completed for me by a locally sourced professional. I was talked out of attempting the upholstery work with my own limited skills. I was accurately informed that cowhide was not a good material for a beginner to attempt upholstery work with.

9 comments so far

View badluck's profile


30 posts in 3932 days

#1 posted 05-26-2019 02:20 PM

I think it turned out great. And I agree the cherry will look even better after a few years.
Thanks for sharing this.

View cvalley's profile


124 posts in 3830 days

#2 posted 05-26-2019 04:09 PM

Beautiful work. I can see this as a project for me some day.

View Mark's profile


1079 posts in 3311 days

#3 posted 05-26-2019 04:13 PM

Excellent mod Dt. Cherry is my go to wood. Can’t beat it for the reasons you mentioned. Well done.

-- Mark

View Andre's profile


5007 posts in 3143 days

#4 posted 05-26-2019 04:44 PM

Wow, you have more patience than I could ever imagine! I could see myself building 1 chair, but by the 2nd or 3rd I would be thinking about the table or a book shelf or a ?

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View dtblack's profile


12 posts in 3805 days

#5 posted 05-26-2019 06:34 PM

Hi Andre – thanks for posting your comments. Whenever I feel like I am getting burned out on fine furniture, I always go to bird houses or end-grain cutting boards. Both are fun to make and beautiful in the end without the rigor and laborious execution that furniture typically requires. Cutting boards are a good way to use scrap and always make a nice gift to your culinary minded friends. I live in a rural area, so bird houses are a nice addition to the environment and provide a lot of enjoyment when you are lucky enough to end up with feathered tenants.

View James E McIntyre's profile

James E McIntyre

1684 posts in 2629 days

#6 posted 05-26-2019 09:59 PM

Great chair. Your other projects are just as impressive.
Thanks for posting it.

-- James E McIntyre

View 1Master's profile


1 post in 971 days

#7 posted 05-27-2019 09:49 AM

Where can I find the plans to build this porch swing

View MadeinMT's profile


299 posts in 3497 days

#8 posted 05-27-2019 12:37 PM

Beautiful work that must have required much patience. I usually follow up a difficult project with one or two easy projects (birdhouse, picture frame, etc.) to replenish my woodworking spirit. I hope you find a way to replenish yours.

-- Ron, Montana

View splintergroup's profile


6357 posts in 2559 days

#9 posted 05-27-2019 01:50 PM

I admire your persistence! One chair would drive me insane. I get bored with projects that take more than a few months of weekends, you resourcefullness is inspiring 8^)

BTW, most any wood, cherry being one of the top species, it perfectly fine for A/C styles. It’s all in the ultra strong construction, eschewing mass production shortcuts.

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