Bonner gluing rocking chair seat

The figure, color, and character displayed in the rocking chair seats are prominent in the final composition of the chairs. The deep and shapely scoop relieves pressure on the hipbones.

We laminate each seat from seven pieces selected, cut, and organized from the same larger board or tree. The laminating makes the seats stronger and more stable. The selecting and organizing make the figure, color, and character of the seats more interesting and lively. We study the growth rings to predict what figure will be later revealed by the scoop.

We cut eight pieces from the same board to select seven for the seat, because:

  • The possible combination of seven boards taken seven at a time is 5,040.
  • The possible combination of eight boards taken seven at a time is 40,320.
Gary matching rocking chair seats

We flatten and true the seat boards on the jointer.

Audra flattening rocking chair seat boards

We bore holes in the edges for the dowels that align them and reinforce them.

boring machine and chair blank

Before jointing and gluing we cut some wood out of individual seat boards at the band saw to define the scoop.

After the seat is glued up, it is sanded to thickness on the wide belt sander, cut square, notched to interlock with the legs (photo below), mortised for the splats, cut to shape, edged, and sanded to fit the notches of the leg...among many other things.

18 174 Color

With the disc grinder and coarse abrasive, we "true up" the scoop. This work is not for the inexperienced or the unskilled. Less than impeccable workmanship will leave ripples and waves in the contours of the chair scoop. You could see and feel these anomalies in the finished chair seats...if they were there.