Category BUILDING CHAIRS

ROCKER JOINERY

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T" he greatest stresses in a rocking chair occur where the legs meet the rock­ers. These joints need to be strong and solid, otherwise the seemingly gentle act of rocking will eventually pull the chair apart. There are several effective meth­ods for attaching legs to rockers. The simplest way is to turn a blind or through tenon in the ends of the legs and fit them into round mortises bored in the rockers (page 134). The tenons can be wedged for extra strength.

Dowels (below) are not as sturdy as mortise-and-tenons, but they allow the legs to be trimmed to fine-tune the bal­ance of the chair. Using bridges (page 139) enhances a rocking chair’s appear-

DOWELS
ance and also permit adjustment of the chair’s balance...

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MAKING THE ROCKERS

MAKING THE ROCKERSПодпись: ІГ.Подпись: 'Ml

Determining the right shape for a rocking chair’s rockers, also known as runners, is an exercise in experimen­tation and intuition. When designing a new chair, some chair makers try varia­tions on a basic curve until they arrive at a design that is pleasing to the eye.

To ensure stability, however, the rock­ers must do more than look good. As a starting point, use a radius of 36 inches to 40 inches to draw the curve of the rocker. This curve is related to the height

A laminated rocker is smoothed on an oscillating spindle sander. Laminated rockers, like the one shown at left, offer several advantages over rockers cut from solid wood. They can be made from nar­rower stock, which minimizes waste...

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ROCKER DESIGN

W

hile the balance of a rocking chair can be fine-tuned at the assem­bly stage (page 132), a few key principles and dimensions are worth noting before you begin. As shown in the illustration below, these include the height of the seat off the floor, the angle between the seat and the backrest, and the shape and arc of the rockers.

The height of the seat depends on the needs of the chair’s user. Sitting com­fortably on the seat, users should be able to rest their feet on the floor and rock
the chair without effort. For most peo­ple, a seat height ranging between 12 and 16 inches will work well.

For a graceful-looking chair, design a 5° to 10° angle between the seat and the backrest. This will shift the weight and center of gravity toward the back of the chair...

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ROCKING CHAIRS

  ROCKING CHAIRS

Glued to the rockers, platforms are a way of fine-tuning the balance of a rocking chair before installing the rockers. In the photo at left, waste wood is removed with a rasp, smoothing the transition between the rockers and the legs.

 

ROCKING CHAIRS

ANATOMY OF A ROCKING CHAIR

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ROCKING CHAIRS

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BACKS

 

BACKS

Подпись:Подпись:BACKSCaned and panel backs are two pop­ular and attractive options for frame chairs. To make a caned back (below), all you need is some stock for the rails and mullions and a piece of prewoven cane. You can weave the back from individual strands of cane, fol­lowing instructions starting on page 83. Cut tenons at the ends of the rails to fit into mortises in the rear legs and at the ends of the mullions to join with the rails. The cane fits into a groove cut into the rails and mullions.

The panel for a panel back is cut on a band saw (page 122), then fitted into

A CANED BACK

Mullion

 

Weatherboard

 

Support board

 

BACKS

Preparing the rails and mullions

Cut the grooves in the rails and mullions on a router table...

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STRETCHERS

STRETCHERSTurned stretchers span the gap between the legs of the rocking chair shown at left. Apart from enhancing the appearance of a chair, stretchers provide structural support and can occasionally be designed to serve as footrests. Stretchers are usually made in the same way as the legs; in the example shown, the legs and stretchers are all turned. It is best to stagger the height of the stretchers; this way, the mortises in the legs will be at different locations and will not weaken the legs.

TURNED STRETCHERS

Roughing

Turning the stretcher

Cut your stretcher blanks a little longer than their final dimen­sion, mount a blank between centers on your lathe, and position the tool rest as close to the stock as possible without touching it...

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LEGS

 

Three different leg styles; (from left to right) a tapered leg, with two adjacent sides sawn on a table saw;

a cabriole leg cut on a band saw and shaped with a spokeshave; and a turned leg fashioned on a lathe.

 

LEGS

CABRIOLE LEG

LEGS

Designing the leg

For a template, cut a piece of plywood or hardboard to the same length and width as your leg blanks. To draw the leg, start by outlining the post block. Make its length equal to the width of the rail that will be attached to the leg; the width should be adequate to accept the tenon of the rail (one-half to two-thirds the width of the stock is typical). Next, sketch the toe; for a leg of the proportions shown it should be about У* to 1 inch from the bottom of the leg...

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LEGS AND STRETCHERS

  LEGS AND STRETCHERS

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The sweeping curves of a cabriole leg are cut on a band saw. Since the shape of the leg must be outlined on two adjacent sides of the blank, short bridges of solid wood are left in the kerfs when the cuts are made on the first side. This way, the outline on the adjacent face will not be lost. Once the second side is cut, the bridges are severed.

 

LEGS AND STRETCHERS

INVENTORY OF LEGS

 

Cabriole leg

A traditional leg style cut on the band saw and shaped by hand (page 98>)

 

Saber leg

A traditional leg design for chairs in formal settings; the saber shape can be produced on the router table in the same manner as the rear legs for a frame chair (page 31)

 

Tapered leg with pommel

Adaptable to many designs; tapered on two or four aides...

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RUSH SEATS

Traditionally, rush for chair seats was made of twisted cattail leaves. Nowadays, it is more common to use a tough-grade, fiber paper twisted into long strands, known as “fiber rush.” It is sold by the pound and comes in three sizes: %i inch for fine work, inch for most chairs, and %: inch for larger pieces and patio furniture. Craft supply deal­ers are usually good sources of advice for the appropriate size and the amount of rush needed for a particular project. Before applying rush to a seat frame, make sure the glue used to assemble the chair has cured completely. The rush will exert a moderate amount of tension to the joints when it is installed.

Rushing a chair seat is simpler than caning since it involves repeating a single technique all around the seat frame...

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SCULPTED SEATS

Begin by making a seat blank that is a few inches larger than the seat frame by edge-gluing pieces of 1-to 1 ^-inch-thick solid stock; for a typical chair, a 20-inch – squarc blank should be sufficient. Arrange the boards so that the grain of the scat will run from front to back.

A sculpted seat blank is test-fitted against the rear legs of the frame chair shown at left. The first step in sizing the blank involves positioning it on the seat rails and outlining the notches that must be cut out for the rear legs. For the width of the notches, add Vu. inch of clearance between the blank and the legs to allow for wood movement. For the depth, measure from the front of the leg to about % inch beyond the back seat rail and add the overhang for the front...

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