Bent Lamination or straight cut for rocking horse rockers....

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Forum topic by RobH posted 02-29-2008 08:17 PM 7611 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View RobH's profile


465 posts in 4905 days

02-29-2008 08:17 PM

In case you have not noticed, I have way too many irons in my shop fire.

I am supposed to be working on a rocking horse for my sons. I am to the point of doing something about the rockers. I need to get out my router trammel and do some curve cutting for the bunk beds, so I thought I would take care of the rocking horse rocker pattern while I was at it.

The rocking horse plans call for the rockers to be cut out of a plank and then dowels inserted from underneath the rockers to strengthen the short-grain area of the rocker.

Now, I am sure that this will work ok, but I wonder if it would not be better to do a bent lamination for the rockers on the rocking horse. The short grain problem would be gone, and I think it would end up being stronger. What would you do? Second question. If I go with the bent lamination, how much would you deviate from the stated radius of the rocker to account for any springback? I am not sure I need to adjust any. If I remember correctly, the springback on a bent lamination should be little or none.

Thanks for the help here. I am trying to get this done this weekend and need to make up my mind.

-- -- Rob Hix, King George, VA

6 replies so far

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 4844 days

#1 posted 02-29-2008 08:37 PM

I would think that a solid piece would be a lot faster and easier. It’s not like a rocking chair for a 120+ pound
adult. Almost all I have seen use a solid piece. That’s exactly what I am going to use when I build one.

If you were to laminate them the amount of spring back would depend on the thickness of your
veneers. The thinner they are the less the spring back. It’s impossible to give you a number.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View sandhill's profile


2128 posts in 4780 days

#2 posted 02-29-2008 08:43 PM

I have glued up some backs for chairs and always had spring back of about 1/4” or more. Don’t forget the back of the rockers should extend a little and be flat to keep from tipping over backwards and causing a trip to the emergency room for stitches. Always account for CG’s

View EaglewoodsPres's profile


53 posts in 4586 days

#3 posted 03-10-2008 05:15 AM

I wouldn’t think springback would be an issue on this project. You could just adjust the build to the radius. That being said, Gary is right the thinner the veneer, or slats, the less spring back. AND the tighter the radius the more the springback. I used to work at a shop that did alot (I mean alot) of radius cased openings. 6” wide, 3 ft radius, mahogany, 3/16” slats would spring approx 3/4”. It really is trial and error. But again, on your project I wouldn’t think springback would be an issue.

-- Chris ( [email protected] )

View lew's profile


13178 posts in 4611 days

#4 posted 03-10-2008 06:00 AM

You could try to add some “gusset plates” on one side of each end of the rocker- where the grain is the “shortest”. If you use a contrasting 1/4” type plywood piece (birch on walnut) and shape the gussets to mimic the rocker shape it will really increase the strength and looks nice as well. If the rocker is 36” long, each gusset would be about 8” long and if the rocker is 4” wide the gusset would be about 3” wide.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 4600 days

#5 posted 03-12-2008 11:11 PM

Unless the rockers are a relatively small radius, you would probably be better off cutting the out of solid stock.
The rule on rockers is: the flatter the rocker the faster it rocks. Also, if the radius on both rockers is not the same it will rock around in a circle (you would have to have your spring back on both rockers to come out the same)
If you use an epoxy type glue, you won’t have much spring back. Titebond type glues will let the wood “creep”

View Harold's profile


310 posts in 4703 days

#6 posted 03-13-2008 04:59 AM

How bout cutting your rockers from the plank and then laminate 1 or 2 thin strips on the runners, you could even use a contrasting wood to add alittle contrast. You would be using the runner as your form, so you wouldn’t need a jig set up or anything.

-- If knowledge is not shared, it is forgotten.

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