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. You can make the chair more comfortable for heavy-set users by trim­ming the back legs, which will increase the angle of the backreat.

The shape and arc of the rocker (page 128) arc key factors that can ultimately
make or break a rocking chair’s design. A well-balanced rocking chair should come to rest about 2 inches in front of the rear legs, tilting the backrest 20° to 25° from the vertical. It should not pitch forward or backward when someone gets in or out of it, nor should it “walk” across the floor when it is rocked.

Finally, by experimenting with the curve of the rockers or the shape of their edges, or by splaying them slightly inward at the back, you can alter the way that a chair rocks.


Updated: March 18, 2016 — 3:35 am