60 comments on “Rocking Chair: Episode 1

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

      • 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.

          • 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.

        • 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.

  1. Paul,
    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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

    • 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.

  4. 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!

    • 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.

      • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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

      • 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.

        • 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.

  5. 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! 🙂

  6. 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.

    • 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

    • 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.

      • 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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?


  11. 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

      • 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.

        • 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.

        • 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.

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