Parker Converse II
HOW THE ROCKING CHAIRS ARE MADE
Once I have determined the type and color of wood or woods that I need
for a rocking chair I set out to find just the right matched boards. It
is essential that boards be matched for grain and color to achieve the
product I make. Sometimes I have the wood you would like in stock, at
others, I must travel out of state and closer to timber coutnry to find
the exact wood. Having found the right wood for your rocking chair I begin
the process of laying out how the various boards will work together to
achieve the most dramatic effects possible. Many of the components are
mirrors of their opposite (one rear leg to another or a seat from side
to side). The components are then rough-sawn on the band saw and I begin
the laminate process that I use to create the matching rockers and back
During this process I will saw a particularly attractive board into dozens of slender laminates that I then glue back together in forms to create the back braces and rockers. This enables me to obtain a perfect match on these components. The seat is then glued up, sometimes two boards, sometimes 4, sometimes 6 or 7 pieces if accent woods are employed. Then the real work of shaping the legs, sculpting the seat, coopering the head rest pieces and cutting the marvelous rounded, mortise and tenon joints that make these chairs so distinctive, begins. The rocking chair gradually takes shape and expresses its own individual personality. At this point I name each chair. Sometimes a grain pattern will demand lots of flats and chamfers. Another might insist on nothing but rounds. In the end each rocking chair is distinctively unique although based on the same original design. After almost two weeks of work I begin the finishing process. During this phase I bring each rocking chair to a level of smoothness seldom seen or felt in our fast paced production world. The final steps entail several coats of hand rubbed Danish oil.
Recently Hal Taylor and I opened a great new site which features shop tested, woodworking products and tools that we both use in our shops and highly recommend. You can also purchase Hal's book or DVD set on "Making a Beautiful Rocking Chair". Check it out.