My first rocking chair

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Project by bigkev posted 03-11-2012 01:23 AM 2505 views 8 times favorited 27 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I started on this chair about 8 months ago and just applied the last coat of finish today. Been working too much as I suppose most of us are nowadays. I ordered templates and a DVD set from Hal Taylor and I have to say they were invaluable. Hal takes you through every step and not only shows you what to do but he explains why. I really enjoyed this project more than anything else I have built and everyone who sees it wants one. It was a bit of a challenge for me as I am not a very patient person. When I started this project my best friend of 30 years said “You’ll never finish it. You don’t have the patience for that!” Thankfully he was wrong and it turned out well. It is not perfect and has some flaws that so far only I see but overall I am very happy with it. This is a very comfortable chair to sit in and very beautiful to look at. Everyone who sees it just wants to touch it.

The second picture shows the front leg to seat Maloof style joint. I was a little intimidated by this at first but Hal’s process for this made it possible for me. This joint turned out basically perfect as did the other three. The fifth picture is of a basically assembled chair I just hadn’t attached the rockers yet. The last picture is of the Sapele that I got from a local supplier at $2.50 a board foot. I can’t wait to build the next one from some quality walnut.

It took some time to build the many jigs that are necessary to build this chair, but you only have to do that once. Hal’s video and book walks you through building the jigs. Now that I have those done and have built one, the next one should go much faster. I would guess that my total time with the jigs, construction, shaping, sanding and finishing is close to 120 hours in this chair. My Nicholson rasps and new Festool RO90DX sander with the Festool dust collector were a huge help. The smaller RO90 enabled me to get into places a larger sander just can’t.

The finish is Maloof’s mixture that I mixed myself and as mentioned above the wood is Sapele. I brought the chair up to my FROG to finish it because it is still rather cool in the garage. Thanks for looking and I welcome any comments or suggestions.

PS – I am not a professional photographer so the photos are not perfect!!

-- Kevin, South Carolina

27 comments so far

View jaykaypur's profile


4017 posts in 3493 days

#1 posted 03-11-2012 01:42 AM

Dude ? This is a masterpiece. I would make your best friend sit in it and have his pic taken! This is a really beautiful chair. Just stunning. Great job !

-- Use it up, Wear it out --------------- Make it do, Or do without!

View luv2learn's profile


3121 posts in 3388 days

#2 posted 03-11-2012 01:48 AM

That my friend is one beautiful chair and the joinery is superb. Great job!!

-- Lee - Northern idaho~"If the women don't find you handsome, at least they ought to find you handy"~ Red Green

View saucer's profile


61 posts in 4032 days

#3 posted 03-11-2012 01:52 AM

Sweet !!!

-- It has been deemed bad for you hence there for it is illegal.

View sandhill's profile


2128 posts in 5009 days

#4 posted 03-11-2012 01:57 AM

Very nice, Hal would be proud. I have the same DVD set and started to build it back in about Sept but I had to stop after getting the seat and front arms made. I had to pack up my shop because we bought a house in VA. I am in the process of putting the shop in order and should be done in a month or two. I moved from Florida to VA and as coincidence has it Hal is less then 25 miles from me I keep trying to get over to see him, even take a class but life gets in the way, maybe someday.

View HenryH's profile


149 posts in 4489 days

#5 posted 03-11-2012 02:01 AM

Kevin. Great job. I would say eight months is pretty patient.
Sapele for $2.50 bft? Wow. Congrats.

-- HenryH - PA

View PatBrownfield's profile


50 posts in 3400 days

#6 posted 03-11-2012 02:05 AM

That’s a Beautiful chair

-- Pat Brownfield Westland,Michigan

View choppertoo's profile


304 posts in 4398 days

#7 posted 03-11-2012 02:41 AM

Salivating here. Only wish I had the patients to do something like this. Great build, thanks for sharing!

-- The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that our aim is too low and we reach it.. Michelangelo

View woodworm's profile


14477 posts in 4675 days

#8 posted 03-11-2012 02:41 AM

Superb work. I love how the joinery’s done – thing that I have yet to learn.

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

View wrench's profile


326 posts in 3699 days

#9 posted 03-11-2012 04:40 AM

Great job, it looks awesome!

-- WrenchsWoodworks

View lanwater's profile


3113 posts in 4019 days

#10 posted 03-11-2012 05:21 AM

Well done Kevin.

It looks really nice.

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

View Philip's profile


1277 posts in 3624 days

#11 posted 03-11-2012 05:25 AM

Ah yes, another rocking chair picture to drool over. Looks like an Heirloom to me.

-- I never finish anyth

View woodtickgreg's profile


212 posts in 4203 days

#12 posted 03-11-2012 05:40 AM

Beautiful chair! One of Hals chairs is on my bucket list. That sapele is very nice.

-- wood tick tools for turners by woodtickgreg @

View HalDougherty's profile


1820 posts in 4322 days

#13 posted 03-11-2012 10:48 AM

Fantastic chair! And you scored on the wood you used! I’ve always wanted a beautiful rocker like that. I guess I better send Hal a check soon. I’ve got enough cherry with crotch feather to build one. And some walnut and maple slabs are drying now.

-- Hal, Tennessee

View woodrookieII's profile


305 posts in 3748 days

#14 posted 03-11-2012 12:08 PM

Kevin, you did a masterful job!!


View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3951 days

#15 posted 03-11-2012 12:18 PM

Wow! When you do something for the first time do you always do it this well? You did a fine job on this rocker. Congratulations.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

showing 1 through 15 of 27 comments

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