Upholstered oak rocker and tabouret

Hello everyone!


After long time I am posting another woodworking project. This is for my girlfriend’s birthday (no I won’t tell you her age). When I started in current workshop, this was supposed to be first project in it. Well it is not first, but I am really happy that I went and made it. Below is picture of finished product and below that there is my working process:

It all started with a couple of boards I got from my parents, where they were stored on the attic for 30 years:

I checked for knots in the wood to avoid problems later in the process. I kept a few smaller, because she likes imperfections in wood. There were also worm holes and I kept those too. Below is the process of layout, it is a little hard to see. I use yellow marker on oak:

I made some cuts with plunge saw…:

…and the rest with bandsaw and orbital action jigsaw:

And then I planed everything on all four sides:

After this the rest of the work was mostly done by hand. First I planed all four surfaces with hand plane (this is the work I most enjoy):

I made a lot of shavings. These are used by my girlfriend, she uses them for decoration.

After that comes second best part – making joints (rough part is done with bandsaw):

The precision here is what makes a difference at the end (fine tuning with chisels and routing plane):

There are also some curves on the rocker. These I made with some simple “compass”:

I made rough cuts with bandsaw and then refined them with spokeshave and scraper.

This is first test fit of back part. The curves on back support are not cut yet:

And here are rough cut:

Here is added front part…:

…and here is complete frame. Legs are not cut to size yet, so the whole frame is leaned back:

Here is photo of finished back supports…:

…together with slats (mortise and tenon joints)…:

…and whole back part of rocker…:

…and completed whole frame (here it looks really nice now):

Now comes some more nerve wracking part. Making the rockers. Here are roughly marked on wood…:

…and coarsly cut out:

After that I planed everything again, because I only have small planer/thicknesser and couldn’t do it before. And more precise marking:

Rough cut with bandsaw…:

…and smoothing with scraper and spokeshave:

Smooth as baby’s bottom. 🙂

I wanted the rocker to last so I made dowels for drawboring. My girlfriends father helped me to make jig for making dowels:

Here is picture of jig with a lot of prepared dowels:

First glue up. Another nerve wracking time:

Enought for the evening. Let’s rest:

Here is whole frame, glued up and ready for arm rests. You can already se tenons that fit into arm rests:

And with one rest test fitted:

Another one, with both arm rests test fitted and shaped:

You can’t have a rocker without rockers :). Here I am marking holes for mortises in the rockers:

Rockers mounted. Fixed with four screws if they ever need to be replaced. You can also see plugs at the back of arm rests where the screws are for fixing arm rests:

Here is everything assebled for the first time. It really made me happy and relieved:

I also upholstered the seat to best of my abilities. But this we did together with my girlfriend. The textile for seating is only thing she selected. The rocking chair was supposed to be suprise for her birthday, but I am happy she saw it before. This way she was the one to choose the textile. 🙂 On this picture you can see plywood and foam ready to be assembled:

I glued the foam a little to prevent it from moving:

Here is the process of upholstering.

We used clamps to press down foam…:

…and then positioned and fixed textile with staples:

Here is picture of rocking chair. First time fully assembled:

And me on it for the first test:

After a coat of wax and moving it to it’s natural habitat (read living room)… …but something was missing:

So I used most of next morning to make this:

Unfortunatelly there was not much time to make photos at this time as I was hurrying to make this last part (I used about 70 hours to make the chair). Here if photo of both of them together (I know,I know, I should have tidied a little before taking pictures):

Both of them got a coat of wax to make the grain of oak more visible and protect the wood.


I started working on December 10th and finished on January 3rd next year, just a few days before birthday. So everything was finished in less than a month, with a couple fo hours working most of the days.


Thank you for reading! Until next time…


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