custom wooden rocking chair blog

Custom wooden rocking chair design & build blog

Building a wooden trestle

We have started a Walnut trestle coffee table, this blog entry describes the process of creating the trestles that are the legs and support for the top. First we dress the rough walnut to size and cut our blanks to width and length.

walnut blanks for coffee table

Next we cut the dado groves in the centre post to accept the tongue. We then mill the tongue to size, for a nice strong fit when glued up.

tonge and dado joint

Below you can see how the joints come together, i've marked off what wood we have to remove to get to the sculpted flowing lines were looking for.

sculpting process coffee table

After our router table is setup with a 3/4'' cope bit, we run the posts through to remove the desired material.

coping with router bit

The is how everything lines up, actually works out very well keeping sanding time down from days to hours. (-:

coffee table trestle joints

Next we use our miter jig on our table saw. It is basically a 90 degree corner mounted on a piece of mdf that runs in the miter rails. By using each side to create the miter, your guaranteed a perfect 90 degree joint.

Custom double wooden rocking chair - Finished foot stool

We finished up the custom double foot stool, I thought i'd snap some pictures after the first coat of finish was applied. We did something special by engraving a message on the top of the foot stool which we will go into more detail about in a future blog post. The double custom wooden rocking chair also has the same engraving underneath the seat.

The rocking chair and foot stool are made from Brazilian lacewood and Canadian Black Walnut. The stool has 2 '' Lacewood for the foot rest and Walnut as the legs. We are very happy with how the stool turned out, the lumber is beautiful and all the hand shaping really flows with the chair. For strength and continuity we use Maloof joints to attach the legs to the top, not only are they about as strong as you can get they allow us to beautifully hand shape all the pieces creating a truly unique organic piece of art.

custom lacewood walnut wooden rocking chair foot stool

custom wooden rocking chair foot rest side photo

Top view and side overall view of the custom foot stool. We designed it to put your feet at a comfortable level when sitting in the Medium Inspiration 2.0 custom wooden rocking chair.

Custom double wooden rocking chair - Almost there!

After a very hard work week, we've really been able to pull this custom double wooden rocking chair together. This rocking chair is almost like building 2 chairs, and because of the special seat we designed using Canadian Black Walnut and Brazilian lacewood things just take longer.  Today was the first time Joel and Myself were able to sit in the chair, I think every first sit is followed up with.... " oh it's nice, yup it's comfy, I like it! Well back to work. "  (-:

This is our second custom double rocking chair but first using the Inspiration 2.0 headrest design. I must say it's really coming out great, and with the matching custom foot rest, it's sure to have some happy owners!

walnut lacewood double rocking chair

lacewood walnut seat back braces

Notice the Walnut and Lace wood combo in the seat we do this by laminating Walnut to a center lacewood blank. The result is that when we carve the seat the lacewood shows through in the seating area.  

We complemented this by using grain matched back braces using lacewood as the top lamination of 4. 

The making of a custom wooden rocking chair headrest

Were picking up at about step #25 in the process that creates the headrest. A custom double wooden rocking chair requires almost twice the work!

We have the headrest all glued up and cut to length, the legs splay out at 6 degrees so the headrest gets attached at about a 6 degree angle also, a jig is used to cut this angle on the table saw.

wooden rocking chair rough headrest

coopered headrest

Notice the amount of curve we achieve by using the coopering process to build our headrests, this is one reason our custom wooden rocking chairs fit you so well. Also by building our headrest like this we have a long grain to long grain glue joint where the headrest and leg meet up, which is the strongest joint one can make.

rough layout on wooden rocking chair headrest

Here is the headrest marked out ready to be cut on the bandsaw. Below we have cut the headrest to shape.

wooden rocking chair headrest cut on bandsaw

Finally mounted to the wooden rocking chair, looks great! We are always proud and excited when we make it to this step, because we have accomplished so much up to this point and the wooden rocking chair is really starting to take shape.

From logs to lumber

We started the day off bright and early with a pile of Black Walnut logs about 2400 board feet. A board foot is 12'' x 12'' x 1'' thick and it takes about 50 board feet to build a custom wooden rocking chair. These were harvested locally, they were in a field beside a house which changed its drainage and suffocated these trees under 1 foot of water.


These are some very beautiful logs, almost no sap and very clear also a good uniform circumference.   


First cuts of the day, we used to have our own wood-mizer but now we hire in a local custom sawyer for a couple days here and there. 


A wood-mizer is a bandsaw mill that is mounted horizontal to the log, moves along a carriage as well as up and down. This machine here can handle some large logs we were pulling close to 300 board feet out of these walnut logs.



Although this mill is fully hydraulic to move things along a little faster we load a move the largest of logs around with a bob cat, great machine to have around!

Custom wooden foot stool - Design build process

The custom wooden rocking chair will be built from Canadian Black Walnut and Brazilian Lacewood. So the stool will be made to match of course, the top is lacewood and the legs will be Walnut.

You can view the finished custom wooden rocking chair foot stool at the blog entry

custom foot stool template

This is how it all starts we draw and draw and erase and draw until we have the curve just how we want it.

You can see the template we created out of mdf and the walnut blank that has been produced using it.

First you have to create the Maloof joint while the blank is square, then we can proceed to trace out blank and bandsaw and sand it to shape.

testing custom foot stool

This is the stool rough assembled, it is 36'' long and 10'' tall, still much work left but so far were really happy with how it turning out.

lacewood walnut custom double foot stool

maloof inspired foot stool

beautiful lacewood grain foot stool

Notice how beautiful the grain is of the Lacewood is, and as good as it looks now it will really pop once we apply our hand rubbed oil finish.

Project progress - 3 custom wooden rocking chairs

Well it's actually be about a week since my last blog post on here, why so long basically we've been working 10 hour days in the shop and i'm just too tired, especially with everything other thing you have to keep up on when you design and maintain your own web site.

We received some really good news today, we entered our application for the One of a kind show in August. Today we got a call back Valerie told us that we have been chosen to receive a new artist scholarship that covers half of the costs for the show, were very excited to say the least, totally did not expect it. Anyways check out there site, its a 11 day show in Toronto, it starts March 30. We will have a 10 x 10 booth to display our custom wooden rocking chairs, bar stools, and tables.

custom double wooden rockign chair seat

Here is the a custom double wooden rocking chair built from Lace wood and Walnut, the carved out section of the seat and the back braces are lace wood. This will be built in the Inspiration 2.0 style and be a medium is size. This chair is a wedding gift, what a nice gift eh! So were under a pretty strict deadline as we want to have this chair on display at the wedding. A special inscription will be carved into the underside of the seat, will post pics when we do that. Progress is moving along great.

How we cope our arms

We'll go over how we shape our arms at least the first bit, the arms have the most hand shaping than any other part of the chair, at least that how it feels. We get the initial shape by coping the arms on the table saw which is done by sliding the arm blank across the blade at an angle rather then through it. 

First we have to dress the rough lumber which involves cutting it to rough length, jointing a face smooth then jointing an edge square to the face. Then the blank gets put through the planer to the proper thickness. 

We then trace on our arm template, in this case a medium rocking chair arm template.


Here we're setting up the straight edge that the jig slides along across the saw blade. The jig has a angle that holds the arm blank at an angle to the saw blade.


This is the arm blank mounted in the jig notice the cut on the blank that matches up with the corner block in the jig, this helps keep everything in order.

First steps - Double wooden rocking chair 2.0

Here is the beginnings of a medium double custom wooden rocking chair - Inspiration 2.0 with a lacewood seat wrapped in walnut, also the front lamination of the back braces will also be lacewood. I love lacewood, it's from brazil quarter sawn to reveal the natural beauty this wood has.


Above you can see the legs have been cut out using the band saw, after jointing and tracing on the template. We now mark out what to cut off from the inside of the legs, at the arm joint we will actually add the piece we cut from the inside to the outside as an adder block. This is done to allow the line of the arm to be angled out from the leg.


We have removed the wood from the inside of the legs, we did not remove material at the leg joint and headrest joint. Next we will be using our Veritas bevel up jointer plane to smooth the leg joint where another adder block will be glued to the inside of the leg joint.


Above is the joint surface that has been jointed smooth by machine but not by hand, there's a huge difference in the quality of joint you get between hand and machine. This is exactly why we hand plane every joint smooth just before glue up.