Rocking Chair: Episode 11

Rocking Chair 11

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Before the arms are shaped, they are recessed into the side of the back legs. Special care is paid to layout and crisp angled cuts. Then the mortise in the arm is cut and fitted and the tenon rounded over. With all the arm joinery complete, it can be shaped using stop cuts, the chisel, rasp, file, spokeshave and plane.


  1. dusty32309 on 14 December 2016 at 5:04 pm

    Depending on how closely you cut your tenon to the scribe lines from previous episode, wouldn’t it be advisable to at least pare the back face of the tenon prior to laying out the angled cut on the back of the arm? If you lay this out first and then pare too much away on the tenon, that could leave a gap where the arm meets the back post. I assume that Paul had very little material to remove on the back side of the tenon but that might not be the case with others doing this project.

  2. tobinsj on 15 December 2016 at 2:41 am

    Did you use the first arm to trace the curves onto the second arm, or did you eyeball the second arm too?

  3. joeleonetti on 15 December 2016 at 9:24 pm

    You mentioned you were going to use shellac to finish. In the past you’ve explained you use the sandpaper to give the surface some bite for the finish. If you were to fume this piece with ammonia and then just wax it, would you still use the sandpaper to give the surface some bite? Many thanks.

  4. joeleonetti on 15 December 2016 at 9:29 pm

    How many hours would you expect for a beginner to take to make this? With your 50+ years of experience how long would it take you to make it working undisturbed?

    • stefandingenouts on 21 December 2016 at 10:20 am

      In one of the first videos he mentions it takes about a week for him to make. Not sure if he makes one at a time or in pairs or something. I’d assume he does other projects during glue-up as well.

  5. knightlylad on 25 December 2016 at 3:26 pm

    Thank you very much for the lesson.

  6. yachtie on 25 January 2017 at 9:40 pm

    In the video Paul says there will be a drawing to work to for the shaping of the curves on the arms. Is this available please?
    I have the main frame in glue up now and after the rockers I will be starting the arms.


    • Philip Adams on 27 January 2017 at 2:06 pm

      @yachtie, the drawings have been updated on the info page and now include the arm dimensions.
      Best, Phil

      • Howard on 19 August 2019 at 1:14 pm

        I am unable to find drawings of the arm shaping as you suggest. This would make it much easier …

  7. Michael Ostrander on 23 November 2017 at 6:49 pm

    Great stuff so far. Nice project. A couple of questions though. First if not for the camera thing, would you fit the arms prior to the rockers? Seems like it would be way easier to do this with a nice solid base.
    Second, it seems like putting a slight chamfer on the arm tenons prior to fitting the arm mortise might save a disaster in popping a chip off the top of the arm if fitting the mortise while still a little tight.
    I haven’t built a chair in a while. I’m going to put a pair of these on deck.

    • Philip Adams on 24 November 2017 at 2:25 pm

      Hello Michael,
      We would clamp the chair in the vice either way, so I think the order is not critical.
      If you watch from 24:53, Paul chamfers the inside of the mortise. I would be wary of doing any more than rounding the top of the tenons as shown, as any chamfering may effect the fit of the tenon on the visible face.

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