TRADITIONAL ROCKING HORSE

image168A deft stroke from an artist’s brush applies the finishing touch to an eye of the rocking horse shown at right. A good part of the appeal of a wooden toy depends on careful finishing. The runners, cross braces, and footrest of this horse were coated with pure tung oil. The rest of the horse was finished with nontoxic paint: four coats of black paint on the entire body, then two coats of white paint to bring out details like the tail, mane, eyes, nostrils, and mouth.

ANATOMY OF A TRADITIONAL ROCKING HORSE

 

Head

Similar to Stand-

 

Tail

Similar to stand-mount – ed horse’s tail (page 66)

 

Vertical

brace

5A" x 5" x 7"

 

body support

:A" x 3" x 24”

 

Runner

VA"xVA"x3&”: made from six laminated wood strips

 

Footrest

ГхҐх15"

 

Hardwood

plug

 

brace

V*“ x 3” x 9"

 

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image170ASSEMBLING THE HORSE

Bending form

 

Runner.

 

Bending and laminating the runners

Use a bending form to give the runners their curved shape and glue up the pieces of the laminations. For the form, adjust trammel points to a radius of 45 inches and mark two arcs near opposite edges of a 2-by-12 plank. Cut along both lines on your band saw, then make parallel cuts on the outside pieces, to accom­modate the V/a inch thickness of the runners. Screw the middle piece of the form to a plywood base, then prepare the runner stock. Rip twelve Мб-inch-thick strips from a l/?-inch-wide piece

of hardwood with good bending qualities, like ash. Line the edges of the form with wax paper to prevent the lamination from stick­ing to the form. Then spread glue on one side of each strip and butt six of them together against each edge of the form. Press the outside pieces of the form against the strips to bend them slightly. Send and secure the lamination with bar clamps (above). Let the laminations cure for 8 to 10 hours, then joint the edges of the runners and round their ends on the band saw.

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3

Attaching the body support to the braces

Once the half-laps are finished, unclamp the cross braces from the runners, dry-fit the body support and vertical braces together, and position the pieces on the cross braces. Mark and drill counterbored screw holes on the top edge of the body support in line with the vertical braces, on the bottom face of the cross braces in line with the vertical braces, and near the corners of the cross braces in line with the runners. Spread glue in the half-laps, then screw the braces together and attach the body support to the vertical braces (above).

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4

Installing the runners

Apply glue to the underside of the cross braces in line with the runners and clamp the runners in position. Using the counterbored holes in the braces as a guide, drill pilot holes into the runners and screw them in place (above). Glue in hardwood plugs cut from a contrasting hardwood to cover all the screw heads.

5 Preparing the head and tail

Before shaping the head and tail (pages 68 and 69), use your table saw to cut the through mortises that will join them to the body support. To steady the stock during the cut, clamp a featherboard to the saw table in line with the blade; brace the featherboard with a support piece and shim the featherboard to keep the work – piece from wobbling. Align the center of the leading end of the blank with the saw blade, butt the rip fence against the work- piece, and make the cut. Turn the work – piece end-for-end. shift the fence away from the blade by the thickness of the kerf, and repeat the cut. Continue widening the dado this way (right) until the blank fits properly on the body support.

 

Head

blank

 

Featherboard

 

5upport

piece

 

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6 Mounting the head, tail, and seat

Test-fit the head blank on the horse, outline the location of the vertical brace on it, and cut the notch on your band saw. Shape the tail and head as you would for a stand-mounted horse (page 68) and glue ears to the sides of the head. Bore a hole through the head for a dowel han­dle (page 70) and glue it in place. Then spread glue in the notches in the tail and head, and position them on the body sup­port (above). Next, cut the seat to size, sand its surfaces smooth, and position it on the body support. Outline notches on the seat for the head and tail, then cut them on the band saw. Cut the footrest, round over its ends with sandpaper, and screw it to the runners, again counter­boring the fasteners. Set the seat in place (left) and fasten it to the body support with counterbored screws. To complete the assembly, cover the screw heads with hardwood plugs.

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