Rocking Chair: Episode 1


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Paul starts this project with the preparation of stock and by discussing how to make best use of the material to minimise waste. With the stock for the front frame ripped and cut to size, the front frame is laid out, making sure to mark the mortises on the correct faces. The mortise jig is used to align the chisel for chopping the mortises parallel. Then the leg top tenons are laid out and cut, which will be mortised into the arms.


  1. uumikew on 5 October 2016 at 2:36 pm

    I like the time lapse effect 🙂

    • troyl on 10 October 2016 at 10:06 am

      Not a big fan of it myself. I prefer to watch without the time lapse so it feels as though I’m actually there. Watching something as simple as cutting a piece of wood can provide valuable feedback.

    • bryandmack on 10 October 2016 at 10:50 am

      I have to agree with Troy. I actually like to watch the whole proceedings in regular time. It kind of goes with the mind set of concentrating on the methods of work vice hurrying to completion.

      Just my opinion though.

    • abtuser on 11 October 2016 at 4:33 am

      In the past, I think Paul has done the other pieces away from the camera (‘I’ll finish the other pieces and we’ll get back together after that’), so we didn’t see any of the repeat cuts. So, yeah, I like the time lapse showing the other pieces coming together too. Cutting all four in real time would greatly extend the video, so seeing the other pieces being worked, even in time lapse, is a treat.

    • Brian Rivera on 25 October 2017 at 6:06 pm

      I thought the time lapse was Paul’s real time not teaching/talking work speed…

      • Robert Ayers on 26 December 2019 at 1:09 am

        I agree with troyl and others. I am a beginner, so every second with Mr. Sellers is a learning experience, even if it is something that he has explained before; there are always nuances, and, if nothing else, going over it is reinforcement. They speed it up, I assume, because they think that most people have the attention span of five-year-old. For someone like myself, when they speed it up it just feels like I am getting gypped of my money. It’s unfortunate really.

  2. andym on 5 October 2016 at 3:59 pm

    I need two arm chairs for our dining room. Would it be appropriate to leave off the rockers and make this a straight chair?

    • gregjkm on 5 October 2016 at 11:30 pm

      I am sure between this chair and the dinning chair you will be able to come up with something you are happy with.

      • andym on 6 October 2016 at 4:02 am

        Maybe, but I know that chair design is complex. I am particularly taken by the rocking chair design but not confident that I could adapt it to a dining room chair unless it is quite straightforward to do so.

        • bryandmack on 6 October 2016 at 9:11 am

          I had the same question. It would be great to see a modification of this to arm chairs.

          • piper on 6 October 2016 at 10:35 am

            They both have upholstered seats on them. It might be as easy as making the height of the seat from the floor the same as the dining chair height and level all around.

        • plan00i on 9 October 2016 at 7:07 am

          The dining chair is very similar except that it doesn’t have arms and the back legs have two angles (knees) one above the seat and one below. the rocker only has one. You could easily use the dining chair measurements and extend the front legs up to put arms on and then use the rocker design for the chair back rest. One of the reasons I love the craftsman style furniture, it can be easily adapted.

    • Philip Adams on 18 October 2016 at 5:00 pm

      Hello Andrew and others,
      This is one of the questions that we will address in the first Rocking Chair Q&A session.
      Many thanks,

  3. armedwithabanjo on 6 October 2016 at 1:12 pm

    Is the timber you purchased a quarter-sawn board or have you selected a board that allows you to orient the grain in a certain way?
    For example, have you arranged the grain for the legs to go from corner to corner diagonally across the leg (i.e. “bastard grain”) to give balance in the grain between the front and outside faces?
    Thanks, Stephen.

    • Philip Adams on 5 December 2016 at 12:07 pm

      Hello Stephen,
      Paul will address in the first Rocking Chair Q&A session.

  4. silenthill on 6 October 2016 at 2:34 pm

    I”ve got a silly question regarding the mortise jig. I”m assuming its facing the camera for our visual benefit, I’m curious if Paul uses it in this orientation all of the time ? It seems like it would be easier for me as a beginner to use it the opposite way so I can see more clearly as opposed to scooting up and looking down over the top of the piece ? I just want to make sure I’m doing it correctly.

    • dovetails on 9 October 2016 at 6:22 am

      I use it the opposite way from how Paul does in the video. I believe you are right, he uses it like that to show us. Works fine for me. I’m not as talented as Paul, so I would have a hard time doing it as he does.

    • Philip Adams on 5 December 2016 at 12:07 pm

      I often use it the way that Paul has it set up. It is a matter of personal preference.
      Paul will address in the first Rocking Chair Q&A session.

      • Danno Sullivan on 16 January 2019 at 11:36 pm

        The jig looks simple enough, but the dimensions must be critical. Is there a separate tutorial on how to make one to the right size? Thanks!

        • Izzy Berger on 30 January 2019 at 9:09 am

          Hi Danno,

          Paul says the jig is 3” wide, 3” tall 3
          ⅜ “ deep from the face of the guide to the face of the inside. The top section is 1 ¼ “ long.

          Kind Regards,

  5. dovetails on 6 October 2016 at 3:17 pm

    I have enough stock to make this chair from Maple. Does anyone think that is a good wood choice for this chair? This would by far be the most demanding and challenging project I have ever considered…

    I have made 2 of the tool chests, and basically every other project here on WWMC, except wall hanging tool cabinet.

    • Ted Phillips on 13 October 2016 at 3:31 am

      Nick – what type of maple are you thinking about here? The reason I ask is that there are huge differences between the species of “hard” and “soft” maples.

      For instance, hard maple is about the same Janka hardness as white oak. Soft maple is significantly less hard, comparable with American cherry. Soft maple is also significantly less dense than hard maple. And hard maple is even stiffer than white oak, while soft maple is about the same stiffness as black walnut. (these figures are from Chris Schwarz’ Workbench book)

      Personally, I find maple to be harder to work than oak, walnut or cherry – my main local hardwoods. It can be a bit brittle and if it is highly figured, it can be a pain to plane smooth. Not my cup of tea, I guess – but it would certainly be acceptable for a rocker.

    • Philip Adams on 5 December 2016 at 12:08 pm

      Hello Nick,
      Paul will address in the first Rocking Chair Q&A session.

  6. manny on 6 October 2016 at 3:23 pm

    My question is similar to Andrew M’s. Would a rocking chair from this new series be feasible with no chair arms, like the earlier (armless) Dining Chair project? Or would removing the arms make the chair unstable or perhaps a different problem?

    I play guitar and it’s a challenge to find a good playing position when sitting on a couch. Likewise it’s hard to find an around the house chair with no arms. For clarity, the right hand chair arm makes it impossible to hold and play a guitar for the right handed player. The instrument overhangs one’s right leg a good bit. The arm on the left is no problem, but 2 arms is a package deal!

    • plan00i on 9 October 2016 at 6:48 am

      The only issue I would see with an armless rocker would be getting in and out of it. Most people put their hands on the edge of the arm rest to steady the chair while sitting or standing. either in his video or blog Paul mentions that the dining chair is very similar to the rocker and you could put arms on the dining chair by simply extending the front legs. I assume the opposite would be true to remove the arms from the rocker.

      • andym on 10 October 2016 at 4:31 am

        In the past, many women had what were called sewing rockers that didn’t have arms. Do an image search and you will see them. I think they just rocked it forward and go up they way you would from a dining chair but I don’t remember for sure. In any case, they were very common. Almost every farmhouse had one.

  7. AnthonyH on 6 October 2016 at 6:03 pm

    Rocking Chair build is a great idea. Thank you for including the sped-up repeated content. Looking forward to numerous techniques you’ll teach in this wonderful project.

    • Matt Hess on 11 October 2016 at 12:58 am

      I agree with Anthony. There have been probably hundreds of mortise and tenons cut on woodworking masterclasses and it’s really not necessary to show them all at regular speed. Thanks for speeding it up.

  8. Clifford on 6 October 2016 at 10:59 pm

    Does anyone know what type of oak Paul is using. Red or white etc.?

    • YrHenSaer on 8 October 2016 at 11:47 am

      Allowing for camera/lighting effects etc., it looks very much like White Oak to me, which is readily available as an import in the UK.
      It is often cheaper to buy here than European Oak, which often originates in France….. at least most of mine was…..

      Otherwise, you could use any straight-grained furniture-quality timber….. it doesn’t have to be Oak unless you have a preference for it.

      Going back to the days of the Arts and Crafts movement, much of this type of furniture would have been made in Oak, then fumed to give a darker appearance.

      Hope this helps

      • Clifford on 9 October 2016 at 8:07 pm

        Thanks A Joyner. I have used red oak for some of the other projects as it is cheaper than white at my location in Idaho. I think that I remember one of Paul’s blogs stating that both are fine to work with but that white is better grained. I might give the white a try.

        • YrHenSaer on 12 October 2016 at 3:24 pm

          From my own – admittedly limited – experience of American Oaks, I note that the White Oak in general has a clearer colour and more homogenous grain, (at least the stuff we get here has), but that Red Oak is not considered durable. This is immaterial if you are making indoor furniture. Both work well and finish well.

          This stuff is mostly kiln-dried and stable, but I’m always careful to allow the dimensioned bits to sit in a stable atmosphere for a few weeks; the thicker portions of wood can hide internal stresses that are released when you cut it, especially after re-sawing.

          Good luck. I started one of these chairs a few months ago and it is at the glue-up stage.

  9. wmannings93 on 7 October 2016 at 7:18 am

    Hey Paul,

    Love the videos as always. Watching this first episode before i go off to college where i am Studying Bench Joinery. Its nice to see the college putting emphasis on the use of hand tools before moving on to machinery. Looking forward to the next episode! 🙂

  10. 5ivestring on 8 October 2016 at 1:07 am

    I wanted to build the chess board with a table next, but dog gone it, this has to be my next project. I think it maybe more than I should attempt at my level, but I got to try it.

  11. knightlylad on 8 October 2016 at 9:30 pm

    Thank you for the lesson.

  12. MickA on 9 October 2016 at 6:32 pm

    Paul/Phil/Joseph – will we be able to get the whole chair out of that 8′ x 6″ x 2″? I suspect not, but I’m not sure. If I’m going to need more oak, I’d rather get it all at the same time. I’m going to make this chair again, having made it the first time on the one month course at Penrhyn Castle. In fact I’m sitting on it now, as I type. It’s been a daily delight to me, a constant reminder that I ‘can do’. But this time completely by hand, without hands-on help from Paul.

    • Philip Adams on 18 October 2016 at 4:41 pm

      The PDF on the rocking chair info page includes a cutting list of all the stock required. We don’t give out the number of board feet required as it depends on the dimension of the stock you can get hold of, such as the length and width. Due to this, we don’t calculate the number of board feet for our own reference either.
      Sorry not to be more helpful.
      Best, Phil

  13. yachtie on 9 October 2016 at 7:14 pm

    Does anyone have a shopping list to take to a timber merchant for the right number and sizes of planks to cut down?


    • Ted Phillips on 20 October 2016 at 2:24 pm

      I took the cut list on the drawing and mapped the pieces out to create my own “purchase list”. Here’s what I’m going to go shopping for, which turns out to be around 19 bf of lumber:

      2x, 6 foot x 7 inch 8/4

      2x, 6 foot x 6 inch 4/4

      This doesn’t include material for the seat pan, which isn’t on the drawing at this point. We’ll need to wait for the video to get instructions on that – but I assume it will be made from lower-cost stock or sheet goods.

      • aeichorn on 25 October 2016 at 2:03 am

        Hi Ted – a 6ft 8/4 board will leave you a bit short… In the video Paul had an 8ft 8/4 board by 7in wide from which he showed getting two back legs 45″(+)long, two 20″ (19.25″) for Top and Lower Support Back Rails, and two 24″ pieces for Front legs equals about 8feet. Also allow a little for working around any defects in the wood. Also in the video Paul had another 8/4 piece for the 30″ (2.5ft) for Rockers. The total is closer 11 feet of 8/4 (8ft plus 2.5ft)
        Do the same layout on the 4/4 boards 6inches wide and you will find you need closer to 12 feet of 4/4 lumber. 2 arms 4-5/8″x24″, 1 each Top front (3.25) and lower front (1.25) rails 21.75″, 1 each Top rear (3.25″) and lower rear (1.25″) rails x 19.25″, and two each Top side rail (3.25″) and Lower Side rail (1.25″) x 18.75″
        Hope this helps. – Al

  14. straff1 on 10 October 2016 at 7:39 am

    Hi all, this is the first project that I’ve watched from Paul, can anyone tell me if he puts up any drawings / plans regarding the shaped elements of the work i.e. the back legs, arm rests etc. Thanks all, and like so many others have said….thanks for the inspiration Paul.

  15. deanbecker on 10 October 2016 at 4:04 pm

    Go to the introduction page and there is a link to a jpeg cile in the text

  16. rustifer on 12 October 2016 at 11:44 pm

    Thanks doesn’t cover it, i’m eternally grateful for all i have learned and continue to learn.
    Brilliant stuff, heart felt gratitude to all concerned.

  17. Karey on 17 October 2016 at 8:41 pm

    Hello Paul, I was making a pattern for the back Post (leg) from page 3 and after I completed it I saw that the dimensions where different from page 1. Page 3 shows the length of the knee to be 11 3/4″ but page 1 totals 12 3/4″. Please let me know which is correct or if I am not totaling correctly.

    I have made many of your projects and enjoyed making them.

    • Philip Adams on 21 October 2016 at 1:20 pm

      Hello @kpreeseaol-com,
      I have just worked through all the measurement corrections, and it should indeed be 12 3/4″. Thanks for pointing it out.

  18. aeichorn on 25 October 2016 at 1:28 am

    Hello Phillip – I found the same discrepancy. 12.75″ is the total on page one is the width of the two rails (3.25+1.25) and the two spaces in between (4.5+3.75) The total is 12.75″ (82.5mm+114.5mm+32.0mm+95.0mm = 324mm = 12.76″) Clearly a one inch difference in the dimension shown on page 1 and page 3.
    i figure that Paul will cover this in the video when he gets to cutting the tenons on the ends and fitting the legs. He commented on leaving them long for now when he was showing us how to lay out the back legs in the video.

  19. mbrxjepp on 29 October 2016 at 10:15 pm

    Hi all, the biggest difficulty I have when starting a project is finding good quality timber. Where in the UK are people sourcing their stock?


  20. schenkenstein on 19 November 2016 at 11:47 pm

    Started laying out mortises for the front legs this afternoon, but I ran into a measurement discrepancy between the PDF plans and this video.

    – Page 2 of the plans says 8 3/4″ to the top of the top front rail mortise, Paul says 8 1/2″ at 15:25 in the video.

    – Page 2 of the plans says 3 3/4″ to the top of the top of the lower front rail mortise from the bottom of the front rail mortise, Paul says 3 1/4″ at 16:35 in the video. (This one is also 3 3/4″ on page 3, but I have not watched that far ahead in the videos yet.)

    Not the biggest discrepancies, I know, but I’d like to not waste wood and time if things don’t match up with the rear post down the road.

    Anybody else work thru this?


    • dusty32309 on 22 November 2016 at 5:48 am

      I thought the same thing initially, but the distance on the plans is between the edges of the mortises. The shorter distance is between the rails. The difference is the 1/4″ you cut off the edge of each tenon. Hope this helps.

    • dusty32309 on 22 November 2016 at 5:51 am

      Also he marks the rear posts directly from the front so they align perfectly.

      • schenkenstein on 23 November 2016 at 4:04 am

        Thanks! I was just looking over the plans and see that is what he did. Makes sense to me now!

  21. geoffbutler1 on 13 January 2019 at 11:28 am

    I was just recently asked by my Granddaughter, “Smarty” she said (that’s what she calls me “Smarty Pants”) can you make me a rocking chair for my bedroom? ” she is seven years old and wants to help me. I was wondering does this design lend itself to scaling? I was thinking of maybe half size or at the most 3/4 size.
    Thanks for all the inspiration your channel provides me with

    All the best
    Geoff Butler

    • Izzy Berger on 14 January 2019 at 3:15 pm

      Hi Geoff,

      Paul says without going through all the details, I believe it would work. Personally I think ¾ would be better as children grow very rapidly.

      Kind Regards,

      • Ed on 14 January 2019 at 3:49 pm

        I’ve built this chair (full scale) and, as I recall, the rockers screw on. My suggestion is to examine your modified chair carefully for whether it can tip over backwards, especially when intended for a child. If so, adjust the rocker length as needed for stability.

        • Ed on 14 January 2019 at 3:53 pm

          Forgot to say…if you build full size, she can keep it for life and, in the interim, there’s lots of room for stuffed animals to sit with her. There’s also room for grandpa, stuffed animals, a blanket, and the cat, so she can sit in his lap while he reads a book to her.

        • robdavies on 11 May 2019 at 4:45 pm

          I’m sure this has been asked and I have looked but cannot find the answer. The thickest pieces need to be 1 3/4 inches and I have some rough sawn stock that is 2 inches thick, if after surfacing and straightening out the rough sawn stock it’s a little under the 1 3/4 would I still be ok to use it? I’m thinking maybe an 8th under.

          • Izzy Berger on 16 May 2019 at 8:02 am

            Hi Rob,

            Paul says absolutely.

            Kind Regards,

          • robdavies on 16 May 2019 at 2:15 pm

            Thanks Izzy

  22. Danno Sullivan on 14 January 2019 at 1:45 pm

    Hi, where can I find the Q and A’s mentioned here? — Thanks!

  23. David M Collier on 17 August 2019 at 7:31 pm

    How do you get to episode 2 ? It seems like this site is much harder to use than it was previously. I hope you can change it back. Sincerely David Collier

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