Building this lovely rocker is ¡n itself a pleasurable pastime, but the real reward comes from seeing a happy child seated between the graceful swans. It's a piece that will most likely become a treasured family heirloom, delighting generations of children, Unlike some of the plywood and pressed-board versions being produced commercially, this rocker is made of solid pine. Given a fine finish and appropriate upholstery, it's a plaything that will grace any room.
Enlarge the swan on a 1" grid pattern. This can be done on brown wrapping paper, which is then cut to shape and the outline drawn on the stock. We used a dressmaker's pattern wheel to go over the lines, leaving small indentations in the wood that were connected with a pencil line.
Joint the boards to be glued up, but before doweling, transfer the pattern and locate the %" dowels so they will not be exposed when the swan is cut out. Try to locate one dowel in the narrow part of the neck. This area will be reinforced con siderably with the addition of the curved brackets.
After cutting the swans and brackets, clamp them together and round all edges with a rasp and sandpaper. Drill holes for the eyes. Then cut the three seat sections, beveling adjoining edges of the seat and leg rest for a good joint. Arrange the seat parts on one side and mark the seat location on the swan with a pencil line. Also locate the %" dowel sockets. Drive small headless brads along the pencil line, spaced every 2" apart and protruding about %". Also drive brads into the centers of the dowel locations. Now align the swans and press them carefully together so that the brad points will transfer the seat outline and dowel locations to the opposite side. This process will guarantee that everything is level and parallel.
Remove the brads and glue and screw quarter-round molding to both sides. Beg, borrow, or steal a Forstner bit to cut the dowel sockets—or. as a last desperate measure, drill the holes with an auger bit—and hide the holes on the other side caused by the feed screw with small plugs.
Now assemble the rocker, gluing the dowels into their sockets, screwing the scat to its supports. and adding the curved brackets and the small tray, which is fastened with two screws driven up through each end of the bottom into the curved brackets.
Give the entire piece a careful sanding, making sure there are no sharp edges or splinters, and stain if you wish. A low-luster finish is best, and you may seal with varnish, shellac, or one of the polyurethane finishes, or take the easy way and use one of the penetrating oil finishes.
Upholster the seat with 1" foam rubber cut to shape and covered with fabric. The fabric can be fastened to the seat edges with tacks and covered with matching tape. However, the best arrangement is to make removable cushions for ease in cleaning.
Small Shaker-style Table
This Shaker-inspired table has a sprightly, long-legged look that will enable it to fit in well with either period or contemporary furnishings. It's particularly suited for use as a bedside table. The design is spare and clean, as is typical of Shaker pieces. The long slender legs are tapered on all four sides, a departure from the usual Shaker practice of tapering square legs on the inside surfaces only.
Cherry would be a particularly fine choice of wood to use in the construction of this piece. The original was made of pine, with clear stock used for the legs. Of course, pine or fir can be used if the table is to be painted. Just be sure to select clear, straight stock for the legs.
Begin construction by squaring four pieces of stock to W*" for the legs A. These are 24%" long and may be glued up from two pieces of stock. Using a table saw or hand plane, cut a taper on all four sides starting down from the top of each leg. The legs taper from l1/." to A taper jig is useful here, if you have a table saw; otherwise it's not much of a job to do the tapering with a hand plane.
Next, cut two side aprons B and join to the legs with two dowel pins per joint. Locate the dowel holes by driving two headless brads into the apron ends, allowing about W to protrude; then use these points to mark corresponding holes in the legs. Be sure to set aprons in Me" from the outside faces of the legs. Drill dowel holes for pins 114" in length, and score the dowels before coating them with glue and tapping in place.
Join the other legs and side aprons in the same way, then connect the back and front aprons C and D. One dowel pin in each end of the front apron is sufficient. Side- and back-apron dowel pins should be staggered so as not to interfere with each other. Clamp these joints and check the squareness of the assembly, tacking scrap braces to the legs if necessary to maintain squareness while the glue is drying.
The drawer runners E are next cut from V pine lo 1 x 13%". They are notched to butt against the front and back legs and the front and back aprons. They should also be flush with the top of the front apron. Secure the runners with glue and 1 Ji" flat-headed screws.
Next, cut two side cleats F and one back G cleat from pine. These should be 1 x 12V. The back cleat should be notched around the side cleats for a neat fit. Drill three countersunk holes through the side of each cleat for mounting to the aprons with %" #6 flat-headed screws. Also drill three countersunk holes up through the bottom of each cleat for l'/4" #6 screws, which will be driven into the top.
Glue up stock to form the top, which is 17" deep x 18" wide. Dowel pins or stopped splines will insure that the boards comprising the top stay together permanently. While the top is drying, cut four corner blocks 1 from %" pine. Fasten these with glue and finishing nails. Filler strips H should be glued to the side aprons lo help guide the drawer. These strips should be cut
PRAvJER runner E side apfon e>'
BACK APRON C
BACK APRON C
i ■ lii muI will be from V*" to thick, depending .m Mu actual thickness of the aprons and legs.
I »mm- screws up through the bottoms of the »Hi. .mil back cleats so that the screw points pro I' slightl\ Now temporarily fasten the cleats i>> ih< aprons, and place the top in its proper po-iih.ii I'ress down on the top so that the tips of Mi. , it,it screws will register the locations of the I'll->' li.ilc - Before fastening the top, stain the un-■ li mdc and give it a couple of coats of sealer. I In » listen the cleats to the top, set the top on tin ti.unc and screw and glue the cleats to the tfpnwft
I In- detail oilers a suggestion for drawer con-i in ftnm pine with a plywood bottom let into grooves all around. The sides are fastened with glue and nails to the front, which in turn is glued to a false front. Thin hardwood strips may be glued to each side as drawer guides. Sand all drawer components well before assembly.
Finish the table by breaking all sharp edges with sandpaper and thoroughly sanding all surfaces, working down from medium to very fine paper. Dust carefully and apply one or more coats of the stain of your choice, following the manufacturer's directions. After the stain is dry, apply a sealer coat followed by light sanding to remove raised "whiskers." Dust or use a tack cloth before applying finishing coats. A final rub-down with 4/0 steel wool will give a soft sheen.
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