Rocking Chair: Episode 8


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With the dry run completed, we’re ready to glue up, being careful to make sure all the joints seat. With all the clamps evenly applied, Paul starts on the shaping of the rockers. He lays out the arches using the arching template, then shows a few techniques for shaping them. This includes ripping down some of the angles and using stop cuts and the chisel for others, paying close attention to grain direction.


  1. Eric on 23 November 2016 at 2:56 pm

    It was so painful to see the all the wasted wood on the inside curve of rockers. I just think anyone, even without a bandsaw, would have to try some strategy to economize on a precious resource.

    • Joseph Sellers on 23 November 2016 at 3:06 pm

      You are quite right. However, we always seek to show how to do things with the minimum setup. It is nearly always easier to use more specialised equipment if it is available. We try to choose the more difficult methods to make sure there is enough information for as many people to follow.

      That said, if you have the capability to do it safely in a more economic way, please do!

    • Rob Young on 23 November 2016 at 4:26 pm

      Keep in mind their “forest for the future” program. So, really, wood does grow on trees.

    • charlesfchambers on 23 November 2016 at 6:19 pm

      I don’t feel it’s painful at all. In fact, I might wonder about the carbon footprint required to make the bandsaw that cuts the wood as well as the electricity required to run the bandsaw, and of course the fuel needed for the trucks to deliver the bandsaw from the factory to the store and from the store to the user, and the fuel needed and electricity needed to ship and sharpen the bandsaw blades needed to cut the wood, in a “less wasteful way”.

      So does Paul actually waste a resource ( a very renewable resource) by cutting it by hand with tools he sharpens by hand that are decades old in many cases, when compared to all the resources that go into machining that wood with power tools?

      I think not.

      I also think Paul uses the scrap material in other projects around the shop like most woodworkers do, so really the waste would be the sawdust which I have seen Paul use to clean up glue drips instead of using a paper towel. So when you look at it that way I’d say that makes Paul a UN-wasteful woodworker, wouldn’t you?

      • Eric on 30 November 2016 at 2:53 pm

        i clearly said “even without a bandsaw”. What about the coal needed to make the iron to make the chisel?

    • jcat on 24 November 2016 at 5:55 am

      I’m planning to use a turning saw I made, (frame saw with turnie bits). It’s my first time to use it so I’ll see how it goes, by the way I modified my turning saw to be a normal frame saw so I’ve got two in one, so far the frame saw is very good. I’m to cheap to waste all that wood and even cheaper to buy a bandsaw.

      • jcat on 27 November 2016 at 2:07 pm

        Just an update from my previous post, for those who don’t know, turnings saws are terrific.

    • leonp on 24 November 2016 at 8:23 am

      I thought the same watching last night, and mostly in terms of the cost of two pieces of beautiful oak this size for the chair (also a missed opportunity for having bigger offcuts for other small projects, picture frames, boxes etc). I would definitely use the bow saw i have from an earlier video (about 3 hours work) should I make a rocker.

    • Michael Ostrander on 20 November 2017 at 6:05 pm

      A turning saw or a bow saw, wit a 3/8’s to 1/2″ blade would work great for this application. They can be purchased for about a fifth the cost of a low-end bandsaw or made in a day as a very gratifying project.
      Not sure about all that carbon footprint stuff, It would take about 5 minutes total to rough cut these from the blank.
      Nice to have those larger pieces for a future project.

  2. joeleonetti on 23 November 2016 at 6:09 pm

    Very enjoyable. Seeing the rockers being formed felt more like watching a statue being chiseled out of a block of stone.

  3. Matt Hess on 24 November 2016 at 12:21 am

    It’s a cold day where I live. I finished a day of hard work and came home to my favorite weekly video waiting for me. I warmed up a cup of hot chocolate and sat down and watched the master at work. Great way to end the day!

    Happy Thanksgiving to all my USA friends! We have much to be grateful for.

  4. dusty32309 on 24 November 2016 at 3:52 am

    The stop cut, chisel, and spokeshave technique has become my favorite activity in the shop. As Mr Sellers says, it feels like I’m truly working the wood. I hear his voice in my head as I read the grain direction and pop the waste out quickly. I am amazed at his ability to follow the curved line with his chisel and make it look so easy. Thanks WWMC team!

  5. rodmeza on 29 November 2016 at 12:50 am

    Just wondering if steam bending is an alternative for the rockers. Would the steamed pieces be stable or would they straighten back up?
    Considering its oak and that ships were made of oak, is there room to use this technique here?

    • Philip Adams on 7 December 2016 at 2:49 pm

      Hello Rodrigo,
      Steam bending could indeed be used here. We decided not to include this complexity in this project, but it is definitely an option.
      Best, Phil

      • Michael Ostrander on 20 November 2017 at 6:08 pm

        I’ve used glued up lamination for rockers as well but you really need a decent bandsaw to make that practical.

  6. 5ivestring on 29 November 2016 at 1:33 am

    Whow boy! There are so many projects I want to do. When I saw this one my eyes darn near popped out of my head. I have always dreamed of making a hand made rocking chair. This was going to the very front of my to do list.

    But now after seeing the whole series, I’m going to have to wait until my skills are further developed. It’s like the carrot dangling in front of the horse pulling the cart. It’s out there, but I’m not ready yet.

    So back to my other projects while I hone my skills. So many things I have already learned watching these lessons, and skills already developed that I never thought I’d be able to do. Even my wife has developed an eye for exactness as she critics my work. I’m able to make cuts, joints, seams that are as Paul would say, “spot on” now. All with hand tools only.

    The feeling of satisfaction, joy, pride when I finish a project and everything is perfect you have to experience to understand. Oh yea, I still make mistakes, still learning. Reckon I always will.

    Thanks for all your teachings Paul. This project is just a bit beyond my skills for now. Maybe by the end of next year. But it’s there just waiting for me.


  7. knightlylad on 29 November 2016 at 9:22 pm

    Thank you for the lesson.

  8. ticktockman on 9 December 2016 at 4:53 pm

    Hi Paul and all
    Has any consideration been given to doing a class on bent lamination or steam bending for the rockers, or any other future project?
    Love the work, and the work ethic you and your team bring to the program.

    Dan Campbell

    • Philip Adams on 12 December 2016 at 2:35 pm

      Hi Dan, thank’s for the recommendation and the kind comment. Not sure if and when we would cover this, as we are still trying to focus on the essentials. It is on the list for consideration though.
      Best, Phil

  9. badgerjoe on 27 July 2020 at 8:36 pm

    Where was the cutting of the radii on the top side rails?
    At the end of Episode 7 they weren’t done and magically at the beginning of Episode 8 they are.
    What did I miss?.

    • Nissen Eichorn on 2 August 2020 at 2:48 am

      Hi iv done the handy stool project which includes a small bent lamination and I understood from that that it adds a nice amount of strength is there any reason not to do it here for the same reason?

    • Izzy Berger on 3 August 2020 at 9:18 am


      I passed your question on to Paul and he said:

      It might be the case that we didn’t show this, sometimes if it’s not vital we don’t show it but we usually talk through this.

      Kind Regards,

  10. Nissen Eichorn on 2 August 2020 at 2:50 am

    Hi iv done the handy stool project which includes a small bent lamination and I understood that it adds considerable strength over carving it from a solid piece.
    Is there a reason not to do the same here for that reason?

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