custom wooden rocking chair blog

Custom wooden rocking chair design & build blog

New custom wooden chair designs

We've been requested to design a dining chair, this is our first prototype. We used our eye and a few important measurements a dining chair should have we designed and built the chair from scratch. It uses 2'' thick Walnut to get all the pieces to curve how we want. The back braces have been built using the bent lamination technique we use in our rocking chair they are allowed to flex just a little bit to cradle your back in just the right way.

custom dining chair back

custom dining chair side

custom dining chair front walnut zebrawood

As I said the back braces are built by bent lamination using 4 pieces glued together on a form. We used grain matched zebrawood on the front lamination.

The seat is sculpted about 1'' down at the rear to really put your behind in a comfortable place. 

We used Maloof joints at each seat to leg joint, creating an elegant joint but so strong that this chair  will never have any racking. It's strength is so great we don't need and stretchers or skirts underneath the seat to clutter and distract the eye.

Cajon - A impromptu jam session

3 friends of mine dropped by the other day, an impromptu jam session followed on a few cajon drums i’ve been working on. Reid is a member of Watasun please check out there face book page. The Cajon drums are either built from solid wood or baltic birch. These are called a string cajon which has strings on one of the playing faces to add a snare effect.

Reid is on the right in the video playing, have a look and listen to their music on his face book page.Facebook Watasun

You can check out a finished cajon in my previous blog entry.

Thanks all for having a look!

A Christmas Drum - Solid Padauk Cajon

We've had a recent addition of a friend new to woodworking but willing to learn who has decided to spend some time around the shop. I've been teaching him the basic techniques required to dress lumber, glue up boards, use a router and sanding techniques. All of which were used on this project he decided to make as a Christmas gift for his brother. 


What we have here is a Cajon, which is a drum that one sits on and plays with their hands. Although I'm a genius when it comes to wood working I can not keep a beat on a drum. So I'm hoping to shortly have a friend of mine over to give us a little demo on how to play a cajon.


The dimensions are 13'' x 19'', we dressed the lumber to 7/8'' in thickness to allow for a very robust construction. A Cajon is an instrument that can be easily moved from one location to another, so it must be built like a rock. Not only does this increase the lifetime of the drum, it creates better sound by minimizing the distortion from the walls of the drum. The front panel is constructed with aircraft grade 6ply plywood yielding a playing surface that has great sound definition and minimal wear characteristics.

First look - Armless Bar Stools

It's been a thought for a while to design our bar stools with out arms, we've recently been asked for a pair so here they are about half way completed. I wanted to show them off, it's easier appreciate the finished product if you see where it comes from. 

This pair has been adapted from the current contemporary bar stool with the arms left off and a few more refinements. The front legs have been designed to be flush with the side of the seat, we do this by adjusting the depth of the notch. This creates a flush leg with a cleaner line and it actually makes it an even stronger joint. I've also refined the headrest lines, added some steps during the build process to remove excess wood and of course lost the arms.

walnut sculpted bar stools

Here is a side shot showing the great flowing lines of these stools. Every joint is reinforced with 4'' #10 robertson screws then plugged with 1/2'' Ebony plugs. The stool on the left has had it's initial sculpting completed, you can really see the difference and amount of material is required to be removed to create the smooth flowing lines.

Is my table going to be ready for Christmas?

Here's our take on a Maloof style centre pedestal table with a 20'' centre leaf. When closed the table is 50'' round and when extended 74'' long. Built from solid Canadian Black Walnut the top is about 1.5'' thick and has some beautiful figure along with its amazing grain patterns.

maloof style pedetal dining table

We designed the table to have a hidden sliding dovetail system to allow for easy expansion when the leaf is required. This system allows the table not only to have a beautiful top but have a beautiful underside.

dining table center pedstal

The leg sections are 4'' thick with 6'' wide sculpted " paws ".The centre pedestal is about 14'' thick, assembled with tung and groove joinery and reinforced miter joints this table will be around for a little while.

soild walnut dining table pedestal

Thanks for having a look we will have a full picture set up shortly.

Time lapse - Brush on wipe off oil finish

Well we had a long day in the shop, working on a custom rocking chair which is really coming along great. Joel sanded and burnished the back braces up to a wonderful glow, showing off the extreme curly figure they have.

But that’s another story, here I took another time lapse of me applying a coat of our 3 part finish to a trestle coffee table and the top to a dining table we’ve been working on.

The finish is a mixture of equal parts of Raw Tung oil, Boiled Linseed oil and Poly Urethane ( semi-gloss), mix together in a salad dressing jar and apply with a foam brush.

I find you want to get the finish applied as quickly as possible so a foam brush designed to flood a surface is perfect. Let the finish soak in for about 20 – 30 minutes and wipe off completely.

We apply 3 coats to all chairs, and table tops receive 10 coats for added protection. Because this is a rub off finish it is almost fool proof to apply, although it does build slowly it yields a beautiful grain pop along with a silky smooth natural feel. 

Time lapse - Attaching a coffee table underside

In this time lapse, i'm building a trestle coffee table from Walnut. At this point i'm attaching the underside storage to the top of the table. The underside of the top and entire storage shelf has been sanded up to 500 grit and buffed with a wool pad to burnish and clean out the pores in the wood. What a shine one can achieve from just bare wood, its amazing, silky smooth! 

First I measure and drill the holes for the 2'' x 3/8'' dowels that will attach the top to the underside. Next I place what is called a dowel centre in a few holes, align the top and place some downward pressure. What  this does is mark the exact centre where the adjoining hole should be drilled to create a tight and most importantly aligned dowel in the adjoining piece.  This process is then repeated for the remaining dowels, but when I mark the next holes I align it with the dowels that have already been drilled. 

Next I get ready to glue and clamp the underside to the top, but first a dry fit to ensure everything goes smoothly when it comes to crunch time. Although you have 10 minutes to work until the glue starts setting up, you do want to get things together quickly and easily to avoid headaches and some extra eye brow sweat. Also i'm on camera so things have to work (-:

Time lapse - Oil finishing a custom wooden rocking chair

We decide to set up our Nikon D-80 on a tripod to make a time lapse video. I have done a bunch of reading, how to’s and what not regarding time lapse with a Nikon. Just hook it up to a computer via USB, in our case a Mac Book Pro then use Nikons camera control software. The software has time lapse feature built right in with every setting you would need to adjust.

We setup the camera to take a picture every 5 seconds, then into Quicktime Pro at 15 frames per second.

Anyways check it out, I think it’s really neat expect many more videos in the future.

You can view this finished custom wooden rocking chair in our gallery.

Walnut dining table - Fully assembled

Well we've basically been sanding for a few days straight, not very interesting to say the least but i've been able to take a few pictures of what we've been working on.

custom walnut pedestal table

Here is the pedestal for the Walnut dining table. It is clamped into this position to sand it section by section.

The legs sections are 4'' thick with 6'' thick feet. 

The legs have a low profile for lots of seating room, while also creating a very stable base.

custom walnut pedestal table

custom walnut pedestal tableFinally a complete picture, the 24'' leaf finds its place creating a 50'' x 74'' dining table.

Still much work to do which includes routing the edge of the leaf with a 5/8'' round over bit. Then do a little smoothing by hand followed up by lots of sanding.

custom walnut pedestal table

custom walnut pedestal table

custom walnut pedestal table

custom walnut pedestal tableThis shows the underside of the table which is fully finished, nothing to hide under here, just beautiful Walnut shaped and sanded silky smooth to the touch.

You can make out the joinery from below. The tung and groove joint used to attach the leg sections, along with the reinforced miter joints will surly stand the test of time.

Making a dining table extend with custom dovetail slides

We've been working on the custom extending dining table we designed for a customer a few months ago. This is a historic occasion, officially our first blog post with a video. Let the multi-media experience begin!

This video shows Joel using a smoothing plane to adjust the fit of the purple heart dovetail runner, we designed the top of this dining table to be able to separate in the middle to accept a 24'' leaf. We cut the runners on the table saw at an 8 degree angle, larger then needed then make them fit just how we want them by using a hand plane to trim off very very thin shavings testing the fit every couple passes.

custom dining table layout lines

Here we have laid out the dovetail grooves in each top section. By taking extra time, making sure to be very accurate in the layout, we save time later when it comes time to get everything to fit just right.

custom dining table rough stock removal

custom dining table dovetail groove

Here we begin by removing most of the waste with a skill saw, before we use the router to clean up the edges.