Rocking Chair: Episode 7


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Paul lays out the side frames by mapping out the angles on a board. First, he ensures the board is entirely square so it can be used to scribe square lines. He then lays out the mortice and rail positions before transferring them to the rail to scribe the correct shoulder angles for the side rail tenons using the sliding bevel. The tenon shoulders and faces can then be carefully sawn to the correct angle and then each tenon fitted to their individual mortise.


  1. Michael Barnes on 16 November 2016 at 4:37 pm

    I don’t know if it’s my screen setup or whatever…but I basically couldn’t see a single line Paul drew at the start of this video…they just didn’t stand out at all unless in a very close shot. Was very hard to follow when you couldn’t see what he was doing.

    • Reno on 16 November 2016 at 7:08 pm

      You need to download the high resolution version. And Paul needs to use a darker marker. Either ink or else one of the new pencils that contain no wood, made in Germany and available at art stores. The white ones are especially useful for dark wood like walnut.

    • drdee1280 on 17 November 2016 at 1:43 pm

      I agree with Michaels comment above. Hard to see the lines at all except on the close up shots. Otherwise excellent, as usual. Thank you.

    • dicksters on 26 August 2018 at 5:37 am

      I gave up trying to figure out the invisible ink, so I had my daughter (statistician) come up with (+/-) 6.8% for the tenon angle. I’ll supply the math if anyone cares. – dick

      • ted clawton on 26 August 2018 at 6:07 am

        Yes, please share the math. thanks

      • harry wheeler on 26 August 2018 at 9:20 am

        That layout is impossible to see! But the angle of the tenon should be 4.33 degrees. The difference in width of the front and back legs is 19.5″ – 17″ = 2.5″ or 1.25″ per side. The front leg assembly and rear leg assembly are 16.5″ apart. The angle will be arctan(1.25/16.5) = 4.33 degrees.

        • dicksters on 27 August 2018 at 11:40 pm

          You’re right, Harry. I gave bad info to my daughter. Garbage in…
          This is a terrific project now that I’m over this issue. Then again, all of Paul’s videos are wonderful.
          Sorry about my initial missive.

          • harry wheeler on 28 August 2018 at 12:07 am

            It’s a little confusing Dick. I watched the video again on full screen and it was somewhat better for me. But really, you can take the dimensions from the drawings and get almost all you need to do Paul’s layout (which I like a lot by the way). I think the only dimension missing would be the 5/32″ offset from the tenon to the outside of the rail that he came up with to more or less center the tenon in his 7/8″ stock. Another way to set up bevel gauges is to just use that ratio of 1.25:16.5 on a piece of scrap like we do for dovetails and that gets you there too. But drawing the whole thing out like Paul does gives the best visual of what you’re trying to accomplish and it defines the the overall length between shoulders that you need without having to resort to yet another trig solution. I haven’t built this style of rocker but I’m thinking about it. I might try to do something similar but with a solid seat instead of the upholstered version. Be sure to post pictures of yours when you’re done.

  2. johnstodden on 16 November 2016 at 7:25 pm

    Hi Paul
    I think I noticed that you are using a tenon saw (presumably with cross-cut teeth) to cut down the cheeks of the tenons. You don’t advise swapping to a rip-pattern saw for these cuts?


    John B

    • sidorenko91 on 16 November 2016 at 9:59 pm

      From what I know, Paul uses crosscut teeth for panel hand saws mostly. He sharpens his bench back saws to a rip pattern, I think for economy of movement.

      Crosscut teeth on back saws are more for when a knife wall is not used, maybe for the argument of time saved during layout. My opinion is that unless you are doing rough work, knife walls are essential to accurate and clean work.

      With a knife wall and the right stroke, a rip cut saw can cut the shoulders and the cheeks cleanly.

      The saw sharpening videos are very well done and he explains it all there.

    • ehisey on 17 November 2016 at 5:48 am

      Ivan had the right of it. Paul sharpens nearly all his back saws rip cut since at 12 tpi and higher you get an effective saw for both cross and rip cuts using a rip sharpened saw.

  3. knightlylad on 16 November 2016 at 10:10 pm

    Thank you for the lesson.

  4. tgolfrr44 on 17 November 2016 at 5:07 am

    you sir are an awesome teacher

  5. jakegevorgian on 17 November 2016 at 5:19 am

    Thanks master Paul.

  6. silenthill on 18 November 2016 at 2:49 am

    I had big plans of making this rocking chair, and then Episode 7 just wrecked it. :-)…j/k…i’ll definitely have to watch this one a few times.

    • abtuser on 21 November 2016 at 4:10 am

      Ha ha. I was thinking the exact same thing. Once Paul started laying out the tenons on the foam core…that was it for me. But nah, I’ll give it a shot.

  7. Ray51 on 26 November 2016 at 3:14 pm

    Curious where the 5/32 measurement was calculated for the inside and outside face of the rail at the leg.


    • Ray51 on 26 November 2016 at 6:43 pm

      I think I figured it out. The 5/32″ may be an eyeball measurement to compensate for the angle of the tenons to the face of the rail. Otherwise the tenon shoulder will not fit correctly. Other than this thought I am not able to determine a mathematical solution that yields the 5/32″ measurement.

      I apologize if I am being a bit dense.

      • Philip Adams on 11 January 2017 at 11:19 am

        Hello @ray51, the 5/32″ is the measurement needed to ensure that the tenon is fairly central in the end of the rail and that there is sufficient material to cut the tenon. Hope that makes sense.
        Best, Phil

        • Ray51 on 11 January 2017 at 2:35 pm

          Thank you Phil for the confirmation.

          Much appreciated.

        • wilkinsb on 3 February 2019 at 4:22 pm

          Hi Philip
          So then in theory once you layout all the measurements for front and back legs position with appropriate distances for front to back and side to side one could place the 7/8” actual side rail board on the drawing and “eyeball” it’s position ensuring sufficient material for either side of the tenon?
          Paul, it appears, selects an arbitrary 5/32” and the from those points draws the side rail before actually placing the board on the drawing to mark the various points on it. I’m just suggesting if ok to skip his step of drawing the board.
          I’m almost at this point in my build and like others it was difficult to see what Paul was drawing and questioning where he arrived at 5/32. However, after watching several times I cracked his drawing.
          Overall the presentation was very good and easy to follow as Paul’s easy manner makes it.
          A suggestion could be to include such type of drawings with the other material. This way it might make it an aide to follow along to reproduce in your own shop.
          Mine is coming along nicely.
          Thank you

  8. svennieslony on 5 June 2017 at 1:58 pm

    Just a comment about the metric captions, those need to be taken with care and checked with what Paul does in this particular video: Paul burns a couple inches several times and gives his new values means original value plus 2″. Those get converted to metric too although they make no sense at all. At 4:11 there is even no conversion of the original value of 8 1/2″ (216mm) but the 10 1/2″ including the burned 2″.

    Hope this helps for the metric viewers…

  9. dicksters on 6 February 2018 at 2:30 am

    I was ready to buy material and take a shot at this until I saw this episode.

    • Clifford on 6 February 2018 at 3:50 am

      When I first started this project I never thought that I could do it. I had only been doing woodworking with Paul for six months. But by watching the videos and taking my time it turned out well! As Paul says “just persevere”! In fact I now have requests for chairs from relatives and neighbors. Good Luck!

  10. Allen Schell on 21 September 2019 at 7:01 pm

    in gluing up the back frame if you don’t have the courage to glue all the parts at once I’m considering doing the rails with spindles seperately . All parts could be a test clamp up except for the spindles. Is this safe ?

    • Ed on 22 September 2019 at 3:09 pm

      Learning to deal with risk is one of the parts of learning woodworking. But, I do appreciate prudently deciding when to avoid risk. The question to ask here is whether the alignment of one set of parts affects the alignment of others. Paul made a chest some time ago for which he broke the glue up into stages, but he decided he had to make four pieces to hold the critical parts in alignment or else it was quite likely that the subassemblies would never go together. For the rocker, the question I’d ask is whether glueing up the spindles into the two rails could lock them into a position such that you couldn’t assemble the rails into the rear posts. In this case, there’s a simple remedy, which is to glue the spindles into the rails and then dry assemble the rails into the posts, including the third rear rail at the bottom, and *clamp* everything up as if there were glue everywhere. This way, the spindles and their associated rails will align in the right way to allow assembly of the rest, later. If you just glued up the spindles and rails on your benchtop, there’s a chance they would dry out of alignment with the post mortises. With regard to risk, you can see that sometimes avoiding one risk just introduces another one.

  11. Selva on 21 September 2019 at 9:51 pm

    I like to do glue up in sub assemblies and never had a problem. Just take care to dry clamp all related parts together and test for square etc.

    See for Paul’s answer to a similar question.

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