Windsor Rocker Without Special Tools: Part 1
Take an elegant rocker off your bucket list
Synopsis: This Windsor rocker was inspired in part by the chairs of Sam Maloof, which is why the sculptural quality of the seat extends to the arms, crest, and spindles. Traditional chair-making techniques are updated to make the project more accessible to new chairmakers. The project requires a lathe with at least 18 in. between centers. The parts are steam-bent. This is part one of a two-part series.
From Fine Woodworking #218
To learn how to ream Windsor chair mortises, check out this video
Windsor Rocker Without Special Tools: Part 2.
I’ve been a professional woodworker for 20 years, but for the last 10, I’ve produced Windsor chairs exclusively, because they are comfortable, durable, beautiful, and fun to make. Rocking chairs are the most popular because they fit a unique niche in modern lives. The human body just isn’t meant to sit in one position for long periods. The easy motion of a rocking chair helps keep blood moving and allows the sitter to shift positions easily while relaxing different muscle groups. I think of it as a subtle exercise machine.
Designing this version of a Windsor rocker, I was inspired by Sam Maloof’s chairs to extend the sculptural quality of the seat to the arms, crest, and spindles. For me, this strengthens the visual unity of the chair, and the fluid lines invite the sitter to relax. I’ve also updated some traditional techniques to make this project more accessible to new chairmakers. You’ll get plenty of opportunity to use hand tools, but don’t worry about having to buy lots of Windsor-chairmaking tools: While specialized tools may speed the process, you can use general shop tools for most tasks. The turnings are all elementary and only require a lathe with at least 18 in. between centers.
In this first…
Get the Full-Size Plan
Digital plans, a cutlist, and a SketchUp drawing for this project are available in the Fine Woodworking store.