Building a Rocking Chair

Monday, July 22, 2013: I woke up this morning to rain, but that’s all right, because we are building a craftsman inspired rocking chair in red oak. This is the last major project of the course, and will take better than a week to complete.

??????????Today’s work focused on the front leg and apron assembly. The front legs, or posts, are cut from the same board so you get matching grain across their faces. In my case, I picked a pair with quarter sawn faces and very heavy medullary rays. These rays, which are most visible in quarter sawn wood, help transfer sap throughout the tree.

Layout is critical so everything lines up square to one another. We had to layout the top tenon, which accepts the arm, the front and side aprons, and the front and side stretchers. These pieces are all marked from the same original layout points, so there is no mistake.

The apron mortises will meet inside the post, but the lower stretchers are offset. You can see my chisel from the side mortise here.  ??????????

Here is the front assembled before I shaped the apron.  ??????????

Note the segmented triangle I wrote about Friday.

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As you can see, by picking any piece, you can instantly tell where it belongs. I keep these markings until final prep for gluing, then I mark the joints with indicators like this.   ??????????This picture also shows the medullary rays. This joint is the top tenon for the arms, which you can see here.  ??????????

I completed the apron shaping, scraping, and sanding, and then glued the entire assembly. I’ll leave it clamped overnight, and tomorrow, clean off any glue ooze.

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