Making Rocking Chairs
Colin Eden-Eadon, past editor of Britain's premier woodworking magazine, "Furniture and Cabinet Making", said, after sitting in my chair, "It is the most comfortable wooden chair he had ever sat in! I have been making rocking chairs since 1993. I am not a person that keeps track of time very well. It is not dementia, I was born that way, I have heard from many sources that "Time is an illusion" and it is easy for me to believe. I have dedicated my life, since I started making rocking chairs, to the perfection of their beauty and comfort. I will not quibble if you believe another's rocker is more beautiful than mine, I might agree with you - BUT - NOBODY makes a more comfortable rocking chair. I have, over the years, perfected flexible back braces, the curved vertical grain headrest, a formula for achieving the perfect rocker radius and the perfect fit for each individual. Within a year of making rockers full time I realized flexible back braces were the ticket! All of my students use my flexible back brace system and others who have learned from me now claim to have invented them.
On the underside of the seat I write quite a lot:
If you have questions feel free to drop me a note.
Some of My contributions to rocking chairs
Flexible back braces: The first rocking chairs I made for sale, 20 years ago had flexible back braces. I have been perfecting the flex ever since. I cut more pieces of wood for my back braces than most people use in four or five completed rocking chairs! In order to make a set for one chair I cut 72 separate pieces of wood - Each back brace has four full length laminations and there are five precisely tapered wedge shaped pieces of wood which, when incorporated, make the back brace stiffness distinctly non linear, providing flex where they should flex and superior strength where they need to be strong. Check out the section on "Comfort" to learn more.
Perfect rocker radius: When I started making rockers the perfect rocker radius seemed to be somewhat of a mystery. Some said it should be 39" others 42 inches and some would not say at all, keeping the radius they used a secret. Eventually I resolved to figure it out and now calculating the perfect rocker radius for any rocking device is easy. You can see my solution here: Proper Rocker Radius
Vertical headrest: When I first started making rocking chairs I used to have dreams that showed me how to make them. In one dream, when it came to the headrest, instead of the headrest wood being horizontal, as it is in every other chair, I turned it vertical! Every chair I have made since has a vertical headrest. There are many advantages to this method. The main advantage is that I can get much more curve in the headrest which means the back braces are in a very comfortable curved configuration to hug your back!
Making Rocking Chairs to Fit: Before I started making chairs to fit their new owner most rocking chair makers made one size chair. Sam Maloof told me that he only made chairs one size and that was to fit himself. I remember reading web sites where builders explained that rocking chairs were too complicated to attempt to change the size! That was 20 years ago, now most rocking chair makers will make to your size.
Book and Video: In order to help others build their own rocking chairs I wrote a book and created a video on how to make this chair. If you cruise the internet you will see many web sites where folks make this rocking chair. Usually they are recognizable by looking at the top of the back braces. This is a pattern that I came up with on the fourth or fifth rocker and have not deviated since! You can read about the book and video here: Book and Video
StoryTime Rocking Chair: I created this chair when our third child, Rose, was born and she wanted to be part of the reading crowd very early on. As I did not have a lap large enough for three children I had to come up with something.
This is what i came up with. I had a student come out to learn how to make rocking chairs and some time after he returned home called to ask if he could copy my StoryTime Rocker. I told him NO, I considered this chair a gift to my children and was not ready to release it. He made it anyway. I just don't know about some people.