a tf

1"-dia. dowel

V-dia. dowel uu

3A"-dia. dowel

3A"-dia. dowel

3A"-dia. tenons, VA" long

V-dia. dowel

3A"-dia. dowel

3A"-dia. dowel

3A"-dia. tenons, VA" long

1"-dia. dowel

© BACKREST POST (make two) 3A"-dia. tenon, 3A" long rti

(D) BACKREST RAIL (make two) 3A"-dia. tenon VA" long

1"-dia. dowel


3A"-dia. tenon, 11A" long

0 LOWER BACK RAIL (make two) %"-dia. tenon, VA" long

1"-dia. dowel


3A"-dia. tenon, VA" long

(H) LOWER FRONT RAIL (make two) %"-dia. tenon, VA" long

© UPPER SIDE RAIL (make two) 3A"-dia. tenon, VA" long l=t

3A"-dia. dowel

® LOWER SIDE RAIL (make four) %"-dia. tenon, VA" long

Chair Rails & Backrest

Now that the legs are complete, ifs time to connect them with the chair rails and the backrest. The backrest will be sandwiched between the back legs. And below that, on each side of the chair, there's a l"-dia. upper rail that the cotton webbing wraps around and two 3/4"-dia. lower rails.

Though there are a lot of pieces here, the most efficient method is to build them all at the same time. Thaf s because they all share many of the same techniques and setups.

CUT TO SIZE. like the legs, I made all the backrest posts (C) and rails (D) and the back (E, F), front (G, H), and side rails (I, J) out of square blanks that are cut to thickness and width to match their final diameter for the lower chair rails and 1" for all the other rail and backrest pieces). And they all start out an extra 5" long. Note: The diameters and final lengths of all these pieces are given in the dowel diagram at left.

DRILL BACKREST HOLES. Of the sixteen pieces you just cut, only two require holes. The two l"-dia. backrest rails (D) have '/¿"-deep holes drilled 33/ie"

from the finished end, see Fig. 6. (Lay out the ends of the pieces first, and then locate the holes.)

ROUND OVER EDGES. With the holes drilled in the backrest rails, you can round over the edges of all the pieces. This is the same process used on the leg blanks earlier, see page 14. The only difference is the size of the round-over bits. For the 3/4"-dia. dowels, you'll need a 3/s"-radius bit, while the 1" dowels require a W -radius bit

CUT TO LENGTH. After all the pieces have been routed, they can be cut to finished length. The backrest rails should be cut so the holes you just drilled in them are equally spaced from the ends, see dowel diagram.

The others can simply be cut to finished length. However, because the tenons on these pieces will bottom out in the mortises, ifs important that the rails on each side of the chair are exactiy the same length. To do this, I used a stop block clamped to an auxiliary miter gauge fence.

CUT TENONS. After the pieces have been cut and sanded smooth, the next thing to do is rout the tenons on the ends, see Fig. 7. These tenons have rounded shoulders and use the same 1/2,,-dia. core box bit just like the tenons on the back legs.

By now, this technique should be familiar. The only trick is cutting the correct-size tenons on each piece, see the dowel diagram. (The tenons are sized to fit the holes in the legs.)

I started with the 3/4"-long tenons on the backrest posts (C). Set the core box bit to leave a 3/4"-dia. tenon. (Mine was W high.) But again for a good fit, sneak up on height of the router bit.

Next, I cut the 3A"-dia. tenons on the other 1" dowels (backrest rails D and upper rails E, G, and I). The height of the bit should be the same (but test it to make sure). However, you will need to adjust the fence so the tenons end up lW'-long, see Fig. 7a.

Finally, the tenons on the 3/4"-dia. pieces (the lower rails F, H, and J) can be routed. YouU need to lower the bit so it leaves a 5/fe"-dia. tenon. (Mybitwas Vie" high.) Note: You may need to reposition the fence slightly to end up with iy4"-long tenons.


With the tenons routed, the chair is ready to be assembled. I think this is one of the best parts of the project— the chair really begins to take shape.

SUB-ASSEMBLIES. The first thing I did was to assemble the front and back sub-assemblies, see Fig. 8. As with any assembly, your goal is to get them flat and square. But because you are working with dowels here, you can't approach them in the usual way.

For the sub-assemblies, I used clamps to pull the legs and rails together. Then I measured the width at the top and bottom of the legs. This will tell you if the legs are parallel or not. Another thing I did was remove the clamps and set the assemblies on a flat surface. If they were twisted, I made adjustments to make them flat.

When the glue is dry on both subassemblies, they can be joined with the side rails, see drawing at right. The key here is to make sure the notches for the rockers line up. So I created two temporary alignment pieces that were '/¿"-thick and had a IV2" offset. Then I placed them in the

Rout Va" chamfer

Rout Va" chamfer

Alignment pieces keep notches in line


After pulling joints together, remove clamps and check assemblies on a flat surface notches at the bottom of the legs while the chair was being assembled.

CAP RAIL. The last dowel to add is the cap rail (K) that fits over the top of the back legs, see drawing at right I saved this rail until now because if s a different diameter than the other rails (IV211). Also, I wanted to drill the holes to fit over the tenons on the top of the legs, see detail 'a' below.

After the square cap rail blank was rounded and cut to final length (21 Vi"), I routed a W chamfer on both ends of the piece. This is the same technique used to create the tenons on the other rails, except you use a chamfer bit and the piece stops against the bearing on the bit. After the chamfers are routed, the cap rail can be glued onto the back legs.

Alignment pieces keep notches in line

Shallow notches are cut in the back legs to support the arms. To form these notches, I used a handsaw and chisel, see page 23 for more on this technique.

Drill dia. hole deep for tenon only


NOTE: Full-size pattern available, see page 35


NOTE: Draw mirro image of pattern i for other arm

NOTE: Grid pattern shown below



deep notch

Fh woodscrew and 3!s" plug

Sand side of arm to match leg


At this point, you might feel like sitting down and taking a breather — except you can see that the rocking chair is almost complete. All that's left to be added are the arms and rockers. I saved the rockers for last so the chair wouldn't be rocking while I was trying to add the arms.

CUT TO SHAPE. The arms (L) start out as a pair of 3/4"-thick blanks (5" x 20"). The first thing I did was to draw the shape of the arm on the blanks, see pattern below. (Note: Full-size patterns are available, see page 35.) Just keep in mind that you want to end up with a mirrored set.

Before cutting the arms to shape, I took the blanks to the drill press and drilled a:l/i"-clia. hole 9/i(i"-deep on the bottom face for the tenon on each front leg, see detail 'a' at right. Make sure your drill bit doesn't have a long center spur though, or it may drill through the top face of the arm.

Now the arms can be cut to shape and sanded smooth. I used a band saw to rough out the arm, staying at least Vie" from the layout line. Then for most of the arm, I sanded up to the line with a drum sander and finished up by hand sanding.

CREATE BEVEL. Before attaching the arm to the chair, I removed the sharp inside edge by creating a tapered chamfer that's 1/2n x 1/2" at its deepest point. To do this, I drew the chamfer on the top face of the arm, see pattern below. And I scribed a line y2" down from the top face. Then to do the chamfering, I used a spokeshave, (though you could use a rasp for this).

ATTACH ARM. Now the arm is ready to be mounted to the chair. This is a little trickier than it looks. To give the arm plenty of support, I cut a notch in each back leg for the arm to rest on. Then I set the arm on the tenon on the front leg and sanded it in back to fit the notches, see Fig. 10. (For more on this, refer to Shop Notes on page 22.)

After the arm fits in the notch, its outside edge can be sanded flush with the leg, see Fig. 10a. Then if s pinned

Fh woodscrew and 3!s" plug

Sand side of arm to match leg p edge

deep notch

NOTE: Grid pattern shown below


at the front inside edge with a 3/l6m-dia. dowel, see detail 'b' at left And in the back, the arm is secured with a #8 x 2" Fh woodscrew, see Fig. 10a. (The screw is counterbored and plugged so it won't be visible.)

on the flat spots on the rocker pieces.

Next, I drilled a 3/s"-dia. hole l'/t" deep through the outside face of the leg and the rockers, see detail 'a' at right. (Use a brad point bit to get a clean hole.) And finally, I pinned the rocker with a 3/6"-dia. dowel.


3/8"-dia. dowel pin





IOTE: Full-size pattern available, see page 35

3A"x 5" - 48" Hard Maple (1.7 Bd. Ft.)

V2"x 5" - 36" Hard Maple (Two Boards @ 1.25 Sq. Ft. Each)




Back Legs (2)*

11/2 X 42V2


Front Legs (2)

Vh x 21%


Backrest Posts (2)

1 x 241/2


Backrest Rails (2)

1 x 18%


Upr. Back Rail (1)

1 x 18%


Lwr. Back Rails (2)

%x 18%


Upr. Front Rail (1)

1 x 22V2


Lwr. Front Rails (2)

% x 22V2


Upr. Side Rails (2)

1 x 18%


Lwr. Side Ralls (4)

3/4 X 18%


Cap rail (1)



Arms (2)

3/4X5- 20


Rockers (2)

1/2 x 5 - 33

♦Dowel pieces start out 5"extra-long


13A" x 7V2" - 60" Hard Maple (6.25 Bd. Ft.)

1 " x 5" - 60" Hard Maple (2.6 Bd. Ft.)

3A"x 4" - 60" Hard Maple (1.7 Bd. Ft.)


With the rocker built, there's still two things left to do: apply the finish and weave the seat All the round surfaces make it difficult to brush on even coats of finish, so I applied several coats of a wipe-on oil finish. (I used General Finishes' Satin Royal Finish.)

Finishing Note: After the finish had dried, I noticed a couple small "runs" and a few rough spots left by dust So


I "rubbed out" the finish with 0000 steel wool to even it out without removing much of the sheen.

When you are satisfied with the finish, you can begin to weave the seat. This doesn't take long, and if s much more pleasant than applying a finish. The tape isn't sticky, and there aren't any fumes. (To learn about weaving a shaker chair, refer to the article that begins on page 18.) 03

3A"x 5" - 48" Hard Maple (1.7 Bd. Ft.)

V2"x 5" - 36" Hard Maple (Two Boards @ 1.25 Sq. Ft. Each)


The rockers are curved like the arms, but they're much less work. They're simply cut to shape from '/¿"-thick stock and pegged to the legs.

CUT TO SHAPE. To make this even easier, I cut two blanks to rough size (5" x 33") and carpet taped them together. This way, you only need to draw the pattern on one of the blanks, see pattern below. Then the rockers (M) can be cut out on the band saw and sanded smooth with a drum sander.

PEG ROCKERS TO LEGS. Now the rockers can be attached to the chair. To do this, I flipped the chair upside-down and set the rockers in the notches, making sure the legs were centered

IOTE: Full-size pattern available, see page 35

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Wood Working for Amateur Craftsman

Wood Working for Amateur Craftsman

THIS book is one of the series of Handbooks on industrial subjects being published by the Popular Mechanics Company. Like Popular Mechanics Magazine, and like the other books in this series, it is written so you can understand it. The purpose of Popular Mechanics Handbooks is to supply a growing demand for high-class, up-to-date and accurate text-books, suitable for home study as well as for class use, on all mechanical subjects. The textand illustrations, in each instance, have been prepared expressly for this series by well known experts, and revised by the editor of Popular Mechanics.

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