custom wooden rocking chair blog

Custom wooden rocking chair design & build blog

Build your own rocking chair class is in session!

In this post you can follow along as Bill builds his own beautiful handmade one of a kind heirloom solid wood rocking chair. I try to take as many pictures as I can along the way as I teach my course. The course is offered as a 6 or 10 day, which is taught one on one. I build my own chair as you tail behind me building your own chair. Enjoy! This blog post will give you a glance into the sculpted rocking chair build process.


Start off by watching us work in timelapse!


craftsman radial arm saw rough cut rocking chair seat blank

At the start we’re moving the big boards around deciding on where to layout our templates to best achieve beautiful grain lines. The boards are first fought cut to length using the radial arm saw, the old Sears Craftsman still gets the job done after all these years thanks for the saw grand pa

robinson 1951 vintage jointer

Once most of the blanks are fought cut we must smooth a face and a edge to create a 90 degree corner then we can mover on to the thickness planer. The machines which can give use a square corner is a jointer, in this case a 24’’ 3400lbs Robinson & Sons from 1951! This machine looks and sounds like an air craft carrier and it cuts like butter!

glue up rocking chair seat blank pipe clamp

Bill has now made the 2 board seat, we use a pair of f clamps to help with alignment then apply extreme pressure with some 50 year old pipe clamps.

6 degree splay table saw jig saw stop

Using the table saw and a 6 degree jig Bill is able to machine a 6 degree angle to the inside face of the rear leg of his rocking chair. This will create the 6 degree splay to the rear legs.

clamp glue up rocking chair front leg

This is the front leg assembly after the joinery has been completed but still not shaped. In this step an adder block is being glued to the back side of both legs, they bill be cut in half at an angle to create a front leg which has a similar splay as the rear legs and a very fair curve into the seat.

rocking chair coopered headrest pinch dogs glue up

This is the beginning of the coopered headrests. They are created with 6 blanks which have an angle on the sides just how a barrel would be made. To clamp the block sections together we use a clamp called a pinch dog, they are a ancient technology used by Egyptians.

kutzall hand sculpted rocking chair seat

The seat has been rough sculpted with an angle grinder with a kutzall carbide wheel. Next the front edge will be rounded over into a smooth fair curve, which your legs will thank you for.

rocking chair parts build your own

In this picture you can see various parts of the 2 chairs we’re fabricating. The remaining billets for the headrest our arms which have been shaped, bent laminated rockers and back braces.

cutting rear rocking chair leg bandsaw

With the bandsaw set at an angle were able to create a smooth flowing arm to rear leg joint.

festool sanding rocking chair seat

Finally time for some sanding, here we will take the seat up to a polish!

beautiful chocolate tiger hand sculpted

This is my seat sanded to a polish!

rocking chair student sanding seat

Bill is still sanding but getting close, looks great!

rocking chair seat festal polished

Of course another shot of the beautiful timber from Nicaragua called Chocolate Tiger

build your own rocking chair course

Here Bill is drawing a few lines which will be cut on the bandsaw, once these cuts are completed the front legs will almost be done!

material removal rocking chair rear leg glue on

The rear legs are glued on, EXCITING!!!!!

minimax mm20 maloof rocking chair leg

Removing material from the underside of the arm adder block, this cuts down on time spent grinding wood away to give the arms a beautiful fair 

band saw added block leg chair



rocking chair front leg glue up

About time to glue on the font legs. A good way to end off the day!