custom wooden rocking chair blog

Custom wooden rocking chair design & build blog

3 woodworking videos - Walnut Zebrawood Rocking Chairs oh my!

I've been busy in my shop these days, but i've had a little time to make 3 videos of what i've been working on. My hands have not a minute of rest with all the sanding that is needed with the pair of custom rocking chairs that I have been working on. These chairs are being built from Canadian Black Walnut both have the flexible back braces highlighted with an exotic wood. I'm using Zebrawood and Old Growth Southern Yellow Pine. I cut the highlights with on the bandsaw this way i'm able to keep the grain match as close as possible as well there is minimal material waste. Wasting material is not what I like to do, especially this piece of southern yellow pine which was actually once a barn beam in a very old barn, that barn was taken apart and the beams were sawn into lumber. 

I hope you enjoy the videos if you have any questions please feel free to ask!







Walnut & Zebra wood rocking chair - Front legs

Things are moving along with the pair of rocking chairs i've been working on. Below i've now glued on the rear legs to the seat.

rocking chair walnut seat

These are the front legs, they have had the maloof joints made and some material removed.

walnut leg blanks

Next I draw what I want to remove and use the band saw to cut along the line.


Material removed next the band saw marks get sanded smooth and the edges rounded using a router then a rasp using a little elbow grease.

rocking chair shaping front leg

These 4 legs after many hours of hard work are ready to be glued to the rocking chairs seat.

rocking chair front legs walnut

You can never have enough clamp pressure, I always go through a complete dry clamp to get all setup to do the job I need to do when I need to do it. Not being prepared once the glue is applied is not a very smart way to work.

rocking chair seat clamping legs


Walnut & Zebra wood rocking chair - Seat Construction

I'm starting a medium Inspiration 2.0 custom rocking chair built from solid Canadian Black Walnut and Zebra wood being used to highlight the back braces. The first step is to choose the lumber to build the chair, sometimes this can take half a day or even a full day. I have to decide how I can best utilize the natural grain patterns of the walnut.


Here i've cut out 2 seat blanks, the seats are built from a single board cut and glued together while matching the grain.

rocking chair walnut seat blank

This is a shot that shows the grain pattern of the canadian black walnut.

walnut end grain

The joint that I glue and clamp to create a wide enough seat gets hand planed just before glue up, this way the pores are fully open and create the tightest strongest and hidden joint as possible. The process takes a little elbow grease but it's well worth it, I do this to every long grain joint which I glue together.

hand plane walnut rocking chair seat

The rocking chair seat blanks have been surfac planed to maximum thickness with most machine marks removed. The notches have been cut for the leg to seat joints, next I use a hand held router to finish up the joint.

Handmade cherry bar stools - Day 8

Well the journey of the construction of these Canadian Black Walnut bar stools has come to an end. These are just a few quick pictures I snapped the day after finish was applied and cured. I will apply 3 coats of finish to these bar stools, giving them a good rub down between coats with extra fine 0000 steel wool.  It was a pretty damp cool day outside so I had the wood stove loaded with some off cuts. This serves 2 purposes, one to keep me warm and two to help the finish cure. I use a 3 part equal mixture of Raw tung oil, boiled linseed oil and poly urethane because of the oil content I like to keep the environment from being cold or damp. A cold and damp environment will slow the cure time of the finish so keeping a happy environment is important for myself and the furniture.

Armless Bar Stools Build Process - Day 1 - Day 2 - Day 3 - Day 4 - Day 5 - Day 6 - Day 7 - Day 8

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Here is a close up of the front maloof joint that attaches the leg to the seat.