Arts & Crafts Rocker

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Arts & Crafts furniture has a lot going for it; not only is it handsome, but it’s also relatively easy to build. Though my design borrows from Stickley, Greene and Greene, and other designers of the period, a few changes give it a slightly different feel and look. Unlike many Arts & Crafts rockers that have flat upright backs, this one is canted and curved for comfort. This chair is made of cherry, which imparts a light look, but in quartersawn white oak it would be textbook Arts & Crafts. To add heft and substance reminiscent of Greene and Greene, try it in black walnut.

Building this rocker offers just enough challenges to keep it interesting. Through tenons, like those that join the front legs to the arms, are often daunting to cut, but I’ve refined the process using a template to guarantee a spot-on fit. Using traditional mortise-and-tenon joinery to attach the legs to the curved rockers can prove fussy, so I employed a simple time-tested epoxy and threaded rod joint taught to me by my friend and fellow woodworker, Alan Daigre. The seat upholstery is easy enough to do yourself (See “Upholstering a Slip Seat” on page 43), or affordable enough to hire out.

Despite the fact that this rocker was one of my first commissioned pieces, it remains one of my favorites. Unlike most of my early work, I only wish I had made a second one for myself.

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