The rocking horse shown below measures 23 inches high by 33 inches long. It can be fashioned from virtually any stock, although a wood suitable for carving (pine


or basswood, for example) should be used for any of the parts that need shaping, such as the head and tail. The legs and body can be con­structed of plywood, which will


save you the concern of making sure that the grain follows the length of pieces for maximum strength. However, you will have to cover the plies with edge banding.





Cut from A-inch – thick stock; glued to side of head



Cut from 1 A-inch – thick stock on band saw and carved and shaped by hand; fastened to top of body



Cut from A-inch – thick stock; glued to side of head



Suede fastened with brass tacks



Cut from 1 A-inch – thick stock; fastened to top of body



V*" x 5 3A" x 19 A’ screwed to legs, stirrups and leg support board



Leather fas­tened to head with uphol­stery nails


Saddle back

Cut from – A-inch-thick stock; glued into dado in top of body


Stand support

Cut from A-inch – thick stock; screwed to hori­zontal and verti­cal stand pieces


Rod block

A" x 3:’ x 3"; screwed to top horizontal piece and stand and grooved to accommodate metal rod






Metal rod

%-inch in diameter, 2 feet long


Cut from ‘A-inch-thick stock; edge-glued to stirrup and attached to stand with metal rod



Cut from A-inch – thick stock; edge – glued to legs


Horizontal stand piece

~A" x3" x 33 A"


Vertical stand piece

*A" x2A" x3"





4 image128ІЗ

The saddle back for a rocking horse is cut out on the band saw from a piece of Yi-inch-thick stock. Once it is sanded smooth, the saddle back will be glued into an angled dado in the body of the horse. Most of the horse’s parts, including the legs, body and head, arc cut out on the band saw.





duced from your cutting pattern (page 65). These include the wood gram follows the length of pieces like the legs and stirrups, legs, stirrups, head, ears, tail, and saddle back. Using X-inch ply – Holding the appropriate piece of the pattern on each blank in wood or, as shown above, solid wood, make the blanks slightly turn, trace its outline on the stock with a pencil (above).



image1312 Sawing parts to size

image132Once the parts for one side of the horse have been outlined, cut them to size on your band saw. Cut just to the waste side of your cutting line (left), feeding the stock with both hands and keeping your fingers clear of the blade. Once the parts for one side of the horse are sawn and sanded to the line, use them as patterns to outline the pieces for the other side.

Щрії pad


Slot location mark


Support shim



Gluing up the legs and stirrups

Dry-fit the legs and stirrup for one side of the horse together and mark a line for a biscuit, or plate, joint across the center of each seam. Use a plate joiner to cut a slot into the mating edges of the pieces at each mark. Then spread glue along the edges and into the slots, insert a wood biscuit into each slot in the legs,
and press the pieces together. Protecting the stock with wood pads, secure the joints with a bar clamp (above). Position the clamp jaws at the square ends of the legs and set the bottom end of the assembly on a support shim to hold the pieces level while the glue cures. Repeat the process for the other side of the horse.


image134The ears of a rocking horse can be smooth­ed to their final shape most easily on a spindle sander. Although you can use a rasp for shaping, the sander removes waste wood more efficiently and is also ideal for smoothing marks left by the band saw blade. Spindles of various sizes can be installed to suit the curve of the piece being shaped. The spindle moves up and down while it rotates, preventing the paper from clogging and allowing you to use the fill surface of the sanding drum. After power sanding the parts, use pro­gressively finer grits of sandpaper to hand – sand all surfaces.

Подпись: Carving gouge image135"

image1362 Shaping the mouth

Once the eye and nostril are done, use a triangular file to clean up the mouth opening (left). Then turn the workpiece, reclamp it and repeat the process of carving the eyes and nostrils and shaping the mouth on the other side. Use the file in the same way to shape and add detail to the tail.


Shaping the head

Once all the surface details have been carved into the head, secure the piece vertically in a bench vise and use a rasp to round over its edges (below). Leave the bottom end of the head flat, however, to facilitate join­ing it to the body.


Подпись: Most of the joinery for assembling a stand-mounted rocking horse is simple, but precision is reqidred. As shown above, boring the hole through the head for the handle is best done on a drill press. Once the mane pieces are glued onto the head, the hole can be bored with a spade bit the same diameter as the dowel that will be used for the handle. Подпись: 2 Gluing the ears to the head Mark the location of the handle on the head and bore the hole for it on the drill press (photo, above). Then secure the head in a bench vise and outline the location of the ears on the sides of the head. Apply glue to the contacting surfaces and clamp the ears in place (right). Now glue the smaller mane pieces to the head.



Gluing the mane pieces to the head

Once the mane pieces are cut to size (page 67), they can be attached to the head. The mane consists of four pieces: two larger ones located behind the ears and two smaller pieces positioned between the ears and the eyes. Spread glue on the larger pieces and on the mating surfaces of the head, set them in place and, with the head upright on a work surface, clamp them securely (above).


3 Fastening the head and tail to the body

image141Center the head and tail at opposite ends of the body and outline their loca­tions on the board. Then secure the board edge-up in a bench vise and drill counter­sunk clearance holes through the body within your outlines; bore two holes for the head and one for the tail. Spread glue on the bottom end of the head and within the outline on the body and, holding the head in position on the board, drive the screws through the body and into the head (right). Reposition the body in the vise, and repeat the process to attach the tail.

image142damping block


Gluing the body to the leg support board

Spread glue on the contacting surfaces of the body and the leg support board and center the body on the board. As shown above, use four clamps to hold the pieces together while the
adhesive cures. Use a fifth clamp to secure the assembly to a work surface, placing a block under the clamp jaw to distribute the pressure.


image1451 Cutting the dado for the saddle back

Clamp the body and leg support board to a work surface, protecting the stock with a wood pad. Cut the saddle back on the band saw (photo, page 66) and place it on the body about 1 inch in front of the tail. Tilt the saddle back until it rests against the tail, then outline the location of the piece on the body. Because the dado shoulders must be sloping, cut them with a backsaw. Holding the saw at the same angle at which the saddle back will be tilted, about 15°, cut to a depth of about inch on the back of the dado. Clear the waste with a chisel. Holding the chisel flat-side down, slice through the wood from one end of the dado to the other (left). Make sure the bottom of the dado slopes toward the tail so that the saddle back lies flush with the tail.





Angled damping block





Подпись: 1 Preparing the legs for the metal rods Before fixing the legs to the body, drill holes into their inside faces for the rods that attach the horse to the stand. Mark the rod locations on the hooves and bore >4-inch-deep holes with a drill press (above), using a brad-point bit the same diameter as the rods. image1482 Gluing the leg assemblies to the body

Position each leg-and-stirrup assembly against the body and mark a line along the inside of the assembly where it meets the edge of the body. Then spread glue on the assemblies above your line and on the contacting surfaces of the body and fit the pieces together. With the legs upright on a work surface, install two bar clamps to press the top edges of the assemblies against the underside of the body and four more clamps to secure the assemblies to the sides of the body. Use long wood pads with the second set of clamps to distribute the pressure along the length of both joints (above).


Gluing the leg supports and brackets to the body

Referring to the anatomy illustration of the horse (page 64), cut the leg brack­ets to size. Also saw two leg supports from %-inch stock. Spread glue on the contacting surfaces of the pieces and set them in place. As shown at left, the brackets fit between the legs at each end of the body while the supports lie flush against the legs and the underside of the body.



image149Shaping the body

Secure the horse to a work surface by clamping one leg in a handscrew and clamping the handscrew to the table. Use a rasp to shape the horse’s body. Holding the tool with both hands, work from the top of the horse to the bottom to round over the edges of the body and legs (left). Continue until you have smoothed all the sharp edges and corners. Before installing the saddle and halter (page 75) or mount­ing the horse to the stand (page 76), apply a finish to the horse.


Building the framework

image150Refer to the anatomy illustration for the dimensions of the stand pieces. Dry-fit the four boards together and mark screw holes on the top and bottom pieces in line with the vertical boards. Drill a counterbored hole at each mark and a pilot hole into the ends of the vertical boards and screw the pieces together. Then fit the stand brackets in the top cor­ners of the stand and mark a screw hole on each side of the corner. Drill counterbored holes and fasten the brackets to the stand (right). Once the pieces are assembled, conceal the screw heads with wood plugs.

image1512 Installing the stand base

The base consists of two boards, one at each end of the stand. With the stand on its side on a work surface, hold one board in position and mark three screw holes on its underside. Use counterbored screws to attach the board to the stand (right). Repeat at the other end of the stand. Paint or finish the stand.



2 Installing the halter

image153Make the halter from the same suede leather used for the saddle, cut­ting it into %-inch-wide strips. You will need six strips: two around the top of the head, passing between the ears and mane, two around the jaw, and two more to join these. Test-fit the strips in posi­tion, trimming them long enough to loop around the metal rings. Spread glue on the underside of the strips and set them in position on the head. Loop the ends of the strips around the rings and use upholstery tacks to secure them (right).



surface, squeeze one of the rods to fit between the legs (above, right) and insert the ends into the holes you drilled in the hooves. Repeat at the other end of the horse.

2 Securing the horse to the stand

image155Once both rods have been fixed to the horse, prepare the blocks that will secure the rods to the stand. Cut the pieces of wood to size, then saw two M6- inch-long dadoes about У* inch from the front end of each block. The dadoes should be the same width as the diameter of the rods. Position the block on the top piece of the stand about У* inch from the end and drill counterbored holes through the stand piece and into the block. Place the horse on the stand and, holding the block steady, insert the top of the metal rod into the dadoes in the block. Then fasten the block to the stand from under­neath (right). Repeat the process to mount the tail end of the horse to the stand. Do not plug these holes so you can unscrew the block periodically to lubricate the ends of the rods with wax.


image156 Installing the footrest

The final step in making the horse is attaching the footrest to the stirrups. With the horse resting on its side on a work surface, position the footrest against the stirrups and drill two counterbored screw holes for each stirrup. If you plan to add wood blocks to the footrest to accom­modate a smaller child, drill pilot holes for them into the ends of the foot rest before fastening it to the stirrups. Then, holding the footrest against the stirrups securely, screw the footrest in place (left).

Through dowel

4 5A-inch-long dowel secures frame pieces together and to head support

Updated: March 9, 2016 — 2:41 am