How to Build a Rocking Chair. There is nothing quite so relaxing as sitting in a rocking chair and rocking after a tough day. Did you ever wish you could make a rocking chair of your own? Get ready to rock your way to relaxation by reading how to learn how to build a rocking chair.
Choose the wood you wish to use for your chair. Pine is the least expensive wood, but a harder wood such as oak will last longer, especially if the chair is intended for outdoor use.
Cut two pieces of wood 3/4 inches thick, 3 1/2 inches wide by 21 inches long. Mark with a pencil which end will be the top.
Mark 6 1/2 inches up from the bottom of each front leg, and make a notch beginning at this mark that is 5 1/2 inches long and 3/4 inches deep on the edge of each front leg. You may use a router to make these notches. The notches will hold the top front support.
Make the top front support interesting by keeping the top straight (the seat will rest upon the top), and cutting a curve into the bottom. Draw the curve you like with a pencil, then use a jig saw to cut the shape. The measurements of the top front support should be 3/4 inches thick, 5 1/2 wide at the ends and 25 inches long.
Put wood glue into the notches of the front legs of the rocking chair, and fit the top front support into the notches. Make sure the front legs and the top front support are square. Secure the top front support by screwing it into place by driving a screw into the outside of the front legs into the ends of the top front support. Let the glue set for many hours or overnight.
Screw the bottom front support to the inside of the front legs once the glue has set. The bottom front support will measure 3/4 inches thick, 1 1/2 inches wide by 44 inches long. Drive the screws from the outside of the legs through the ends of the bottom front support. The bottom front support should be at least 1 1/2 inches from the bottoms of the front legs.
Cut two back legs that are 3/4 inches thick, 3 1/2 inches wide and 30 inches long. You can, if you so desire, use the jig saw to cut curves into the back legs. The curves will be the concave portion of the seat. Cut angles into the top and bottom of the back leg pieces so that the legs sit 20 degrees from vertical when the bottom ends are places on the ground. You may adjust the angle as you attach the seat slats.
Form a middle seat support by cutting a piece of wood 3/4 inches thick, 5 1/2 inches wide and 16 inches long.
Attach the back legs to inside of the front legs using glue and screws. Screw and glue from the inside of the back legs out toward the front of the front legs. Allow the glue to set for several hours or overnight. Once the glue has set, lay eleven seat slats across the back legs that are 3/4 inches thick, 1 1/2 inches wide and 44 inches long. The seat slats should be pre-drilled, then glued and screwed to the back legs. Let the glue set for several hours or overnight. Attach the slats from the front of the chair to the back, leaving a nail's worth gap between each slat.
Create a bottom back support by cutting a notch in each end of a board 3/4 inches thick, 3 1/2 wide and 44 inches long. The notches should be 3/4 inches by 2 inches high. Glue and screw the back slats to the back support so that 1 1/2 inches of the slats overlap the back support. Measure 13 1/2 inches to 17 inches from the bottom of the slats and attach the top back support in the same manner. Once the glue is dry, you can cut the top of the slats with a jig saw so that they are curved, or you can leave them as is. If you choose to curve the slats, have the middle of the curve measure 26 inches from the bottom of the slat, and the sides measure 18 inches.
Cut the armrests from 3/4 inch thick, 5 1/2 inch by 25 inch long pieces of wood. Cut them with a jig saw so that they resemble one half of a canoe paddle. The exact dimensions can be decided by you. Cut a small block of wood and attach it to the back underside of the of the armrest. Glue and screw the armrests to the back legs, leaving 1 inch of the armrest to extend past the front leg. Attach the upper back support by screwing through the back leg and through the notched portion of the upper back support. Add screw through the wood on the bottom of the back of the armrest into the upper back support. Add a middle back support that's 3/4 inch thick, 5 1/2 inches wide and 16 inches long.
Create the lower back support that is 3/4 inch thick, 3 1/2 inches wide and 44 inches long and angle the back so that it's 20 degrees from the vertical. Glue and screw through the middle back support and the back slats so that the weight will be distributed more evenly.
Build two rockers by gluing and screwing two pieces of 3/4 inch thick, 3 1/2 inches wide by 34 inches together for each rocker. Once the glue has set, smooth any rough edges with a belt sander. Draw the curve of the rocker on each glued piece with a pencil, then cut them. The front of the curve is more pronounced, whereas the back curve of the rocker should be more gentle. Glue and screw the rockers to the chair by turning the chair upside down, and screwing up through the rockers into the bottom of the legs. The rockers should extend 1 1/2 to 5 inches beyond the front legs, and 4 inches to 9 inches beyond the back legs.
Coat the rocking chairs with at least two coats of marine varnish before using the chairs outside.