Back Rails

The back legs of the Rocking Chair are held together by three rails. The top two rails also hold the vertical back slats in place. The bottom rail supports the back of the seat.

oversize blanks. I began all three back rails by cutting a piece for each to finished width and length. Note: The rails are all cut to the same length, see Fig. 6. But they're not all the same width or thickness.

The upper back rail (C) and lower back rail (D) are 134" thick so they can later be cut to a curved shape.

Since the back seat rail (E) is not curved, it can be cut from W-thick stock.

cut tenons. It's easiest to cut the tenons on the ends of all the pieces before cutting the top two rails to their final curved shape.

Note: The tenons on the upper back rail and lower back rail (the two thicker pieces) are cut the same — they're offset on the thickness of the workpiece, see Fig. 6a. But on the back seat rail (E), the tenons are centered on the thickness.

After the tenons are cut on all three pieces, set aside the back seat rail (E) until the chair back is assembled.

lay out arcs. Now the other two pieces can be bandsawn to an arc. To lay out this arc, first cut a template (I used poster board) with a 60"-radius arc, see Fig. 7.

Then place the template on the inside edge of the workpiece to draw the inside arc. Move the template to the outside edge to draw the outside arc, see Fig. 8.

After the two rails are sawn to the curved shape, sand them to finished thickness 04") using a drum sander in the drill press.

drill mortises. To hold the back slats in place, a series of matching mortises is drilled in the upper back rail and lower back rail, sec Fig. 9. Note: The mortises arc drilled

on the facing edges of each piece — the lower edge of the upper rail, and the upper edge of the lower rail.

To keep all the mortises an equal distance from the edge of the rail, I used a platform with a guide pin on the drill press table, see Mortising Tip at right below. assemble chair rack. Now all the back parts can be assembled. I started by assembling (but not gluing) the back slats in between the upper and lower back rails.

Then assemble this unit (and the back seat rail) between the back legs, refer to the drawing in the upper left corner of the facing page. Glue all the tenons in the mortises, then clamp across each of the three rails.


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