Walnut Rocker

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Project by Pwilhelm posted 01-12-2021 12:06 PM 867 views 2 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’d like to post more of the outdoor photos I took on my back porch, but they’re over the 5MB limit.

The first day of planning a rocking chair like this (or any big project) has probably the largest affect on how it turns out due to the grain you’ve selected for any given piece of the chair. On this chair I didn’t have any large areas of nice grain because the wood was fairly straight-grained, so I elected to cut the arm rests out with a big knot right in the middle and then fill the knot cracks with epoxy tinted with turquoise powder. I’m very happy with how it turned out because, as in many things, the best of the wood is right next to the worst of the wood. If you can enhance the bad parts with some color, it makes something nice to look at.

This is the first time I’ve cut the back leg joint tongue and groove with the intent of not trimming the tongue, and actually letting it be seen. I think it turned out well. This is also the first time I’ve assembled an entire chair using West System epoxy for adhesive instead of Titebond 3. On many woodworking projects I have a found that over the course of the first year, the Titebond tends to creep out of the joints a little and leave small ridges that you can feel with your fingertips. I initially thought that it was because the wood shrunk slightly after finishing the project and letting it acclimate to the house, but this chair has not done that at all, and I am fairly certain that it’s because of the epoxy that hardens and really can’t move after it’s hard.

I kept a finishing log of sorts on this chair and I ended up applying nine coats of satin Minwax wipe on poly, sanding between coats with 400 grit. The wet-sand step seems to really put a smoothness on the finish that is worth a lot to me. I use 3000 grit paper for the wet sand and a little bowl of water with about one drop of dish soap in it. I think the dish soap prevents the sanding “dust” from filling the paper even better than water alone. Then one final coat of finish applied very carefully to avoid dust or lint, a good rub down with some lemon pledge, and the chair has a very pleasing smoothness.

14 comments so far

View Ocelot's profile


3736 posts in 3979 days

#1 posted 01-12-2021 01:00 PM

A thing of beauty for sure!

It looks like you pieced together the crest rail to bring more interesting grain into play. The polish is outstanding. I’m sure that was a tedious process but the results are stunning.

I have some walnut stashed for such a chair, but I’ll save it for my second try and do one in cheaper stuff first.

-- I intended to be a woodworker, but turned into a tool and lumber collector.

View Andrek's profile


664 posts in 3251 days

#2 posted 01-12-2021 01:02 PM

Wow !!! this is great, you have just made a real masterpiece, a work of art,,, your wood looks fantastic, bravo ,
I,just finished mine at 400 grit wet sanded, it touches like glass, and you have some accent on yours that I will use on the next one,,, someday.

-- andrek

View Calmudgeon's profile


594 posts in 2768 days

#3 posted 01-12-2021 02:00 PM

That’s a lovely piece. Well done.

-- "As are the things we make, so are we ourselves." - Lin Yutang

View swirt's profile


7141 posts in 4313 days

#4 posted 01-12-2021 02:05 PM

Outstanding work. Great job on the planning, joinery and finishing.

-- Galootish log blog,

View bubbaw's profile


89 posts in 2987 days

#5 posted 01-12-2021 02:19 PM

That is beautiful !

-- Isaiah 40:31

View RCCinNC's profile


529 posts in 1668 days

#6 posted 01-12-2021 03:14 PM

Truly exceptional. You took your rocker to the next level and a step beyond that. So true…the best wood is always next to the worst, but often…the worst is just the best in disguise. The finish, detail and obvious love of just creating is very evident. Now in my favorites!
Thanks for the tips too! ..

-- Live to putter...putter to live!

View sras's profile


6520 posts in 4470 days

#7 posted 01-12-2021 03:49 PM

Excellent work o n a large project! Thanks for sharing.

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View pottz's profile


22435 posts in 2325 days

#8 posted 01-12-2021 05:14 PM

beautiful rocker,nice work on the joinery.

-- 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 tt1106's profile


248 posts in 4410 days

#9 posted 01-12-2021 05:39 PM

Love your work. It speaks of rustic, but still elegant and beautiful.

-- -Todd

View James E McIntyre's profile

James E McIntyre

1698 posts in 2633 days

#10 posted 01-12-2021 08:01 PM

Great accomplishment. I’d be afraid to let anyone sit on it. Lol

Try cropping you photos a little to cut down on the pixels. This also rights your photos to an upright position when posting.

What a finish!

-- James E McIntyre

View Ottacat's profile


556 posts in 3192 days

#11 posted 01-13-2021 01:29 AM

Wow, beautifully done! I love walnut and maple, probably my favorite combination.

View Peteybadboy's profile


4369 posts in 3290 days

#12 posted 01-13-2021 10:26 AM


-- Petey

View oldrivers's profile


2935 posts in 2908 days

#13 posted 01-13-2021 01:45 PM

One beautiful Chair. the curls grain in the walnut on the arms is great, I like the Maple and Turquoise accents they may it all Pop. Job well done.

-- Soli Deo gloria!

View Bstrom's profile


360 posts in 514 days

#14 posted 01-14-2021 04:13 AM

I appreciate your patience with the finishing steps – makes a lot of difference. I’m also a big fan of wet sanding. You did a very good job on a very difficult piece.

-- Bstrom

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