Gene K's version of a Hal Taylor rocker

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Project by GeneFK posted 01-05-2011 07:43 PM 2751 views 1 time favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

A friend who had built my home, made several of these rockers and convinced me to build one as well. With a lot of guidance and some excellent Black Walnut from Eastern Nebraska, and some Ash and Hard Maple, and about 190 man-hours of labor…I am now enjoying my rocker. Hal’s plans were marvelous. I am 6’5” so I built a rocker slightly larger than the large version in the plans, but it fits me perfectly and is very comfortable with the Ash inserts in the back-slats that give a massaging sensation to the lower back when you rock. The arm rests are beautifully figured, and I had to salvage the left arm rest with a couple butterfly inserts on the bottom to stop some cracks from forming…I guess the more beautiful the wood, the more fragile it is. This is my most challenging woodworking project. For 30+ years I cobbled rough projects together out of pine and plywood with a few cheap tools. When I started approaching retirement I got serious and acquired a shop-full of new tools and worked for a number of years learning how to use them…or as I say, “making sawdust”. If this were my only hobby, I might be better at it…excuse me now…I’m headed out for a spring creek to do some fly-fishing for trout because there is a winter Midge hatch going on!

13 comments so far

View branch's profile


1142 posts in 4166 days

#1 posted 01-05-2011 11:37 PM

hi great job on the rocking chair i love those rockers
must build one of them rockers that will be my next big project
thanks for sharing


View mfike's profile


100 posts in 4678 days

#2 posted 01-06-2011 12:10 AM

That’s a great looking chair Gene. Congratulations. As soon as I get some time to build something for myself, I am definitely going to attempt hal taylor rocker.

View GeneFK's profile


33 posts in 4046 days

#3 posted 01-06-2011 01:57 AM

Hal Taylor’s plans and instructions are great and well worth the price. A number of templates assist in the building, and Hal also sells these for small, medium and large size rockers…they are invaluable tools in making the rocker…There are quite a few templates and jigs involved, so you will be far ahead when you build your next rocker. I gave the rocker 6 coats of Watco Danish Oil with the final two coats mixed with 25% satin poly. Each coat is lightly sanded with 1000 grit Aberlon pads between each coat. The Hard Maple insert in the two rockers are for asthetics, to match the Ash inserts in the back slats.

View Kindlingmaker's profile


2659 posts in 4538 days

#4 posted 01-06-2011 04:12 AM

You did a really great job on your rocker! Everything about it looks super! ...and only 190 hours!

-- Never board, always knotty, lots of growth rings

View Tim Dahn's profile

Tim Dahn

1624 posts in 4577 days

#5 posted 01-06-2011 04:26 AM

Great chair Gene! Looks beautiful.

How was the seat shaping? Assuming you used an angle grinder, what type of abrasive did you use? I’m looking at a Holey Galahad when I do my chair.

-- Good judgement comes from experience and experience comes from poor judgement.

View sras's profile


5878 posts in 4141 days

#6 posted 01-06-2011 04:42 AM

This is definitely on my list! Every time I see someone do one, I get inspired. You did a great job!

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View bvdon's profile


503 posts in 4027 days

#7 posted 01-06-2011 04:45 AM

Nice work… and certainly a challenging task to take on.

View Jonathan's profile


2609 posts in 4062 days

#8 posted 01-06-2011 05:17 AM

Yep, definitely on my list too, but not for some time.

You used some great walnut for the middle of the seat, as well as the arms.

Now you’ll have somewhere comfortable to relax after a long day on the river.

Do you have plans to build more of these now that toupee both learned the process and made the jigs? What do you think… maybe half the time to build the secnod one?

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."

View GeneFK's profile


33 posts in 4046 days

#9 posted 01-06-2011 06:27 AM

Timbo…I got a set of three 4” carbide donut shaped grinding wheels for my angle grinder. I used these to “hog” off most of the wood on the seat, and leg joints. I used the most agressive one the most. When I started getting closer to the finished product I used several scrapers and lots of sand paper from 40 to 320 grit…then 500 & 1000 Aberlon (sp). The carbide wheels were not inexpensive. One was $50-60, so I got a set of 3 for $149 from Woodcarvers Supply, Inc.

View GeneFK's profile


33 posts in 4046 days

#10 posted 01-06-2011 06:36 AM

I tend to be a jack of all trades and a master of very few…once you have all the jigs the job is probably cut by at least a third. I will probably only build more for close family…down the road…too many other projects on the horizon at the moment. The plans were $75 and another $75 for the jig plans and cutting templates. There was about $300-400 worth of Black Walnut and another $100 for incidentals, glue, sand paper, epoxy, etc. At least half of my time was spent grinding, scraping, sanding and finishing.

View GeneFK's profile


33 posts in 4046 days

#11 posted 01-06-2011 06:42 AM

Johnathan…Yes, I spent a lot of time up front choosing the wood to make the seat, arm rests, legs, back-slats and rockers. Most matching pieces are either book-matched or cut from the same hunk of wood. Believe me…when I finished I had much more Black Walnut in scrap than was in the chair. I’ve been making small toys, ornaments and other smaller items out of the scrap pieces. I may never run out!!!

View grosa's profile


1037 posts in 3841 days

#12 posted 01-06-2011 01:25 PM

NICE JOB ! Chairs are a challenge. It seems you were up for it. I really like the grain and the fact that you chose a natural finish.

-- Have a great day.

View Gator's profile


383 posts in 4688 days

#13 posted 01-09-2011 06:42 AM

That is a beautiful chair Gene.. maybe a few more years of this wood werkin stuff and I might have the confidence to tackle something like this, but for now.. I will just look in awe at the work you rocking chair builder type guys do…

Very well done,


-- Master designer of precision sawdust and one of a kind slivers.

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