Rocker Tool List Revised July 2018

by Jul 27, 2018Tools0 comments

Rocker Tool List Revisited after 10 Years

Tool List for RockerRocking Chair

Revised July 27, 2018

I receive lots of requests for a complete tool list for building my sculptured rocking chair. This one came into being on my blog 10 years ago. This revision should help those who don’t care for my answer to – “What tools do I need to build the rocker?” I want to say “All of them!” My list contains all of what I think are the best tools available for this purpose. Some woodworkers might think them too costly, but I will not recommend a tool that I haven’t experienced success with building this chair.

Here goes nothing:

Every woodworking project has a core list of tools that are necessary for efficient, high-quality work. My wife would like for all of my projects to be really “hand-made”. This would save a lot of money and space. But alas, if I have a tool that will perform a necessary function perfectly (ha, ha), I have a keeper! I have hundreds of keepers when I can find them. Sam Maloof says, “You don’t need a lot of fancy tools to build sculptured furniture.” Some tools are necessities, while others make it a more pleasing, productive experience.

I will divide these tools into the proper categories and give my primary choice and links to obtain many of them. Most (but not all) of the tools I use come from Highland Woodworking, because they have the brands and quality I demand! 

Preparing Stock:
Bandsaw for cutting all the curves -14″ or larger. I use a 20 Inch Agazzani Band Saw and a Powermatic 1500.

Bandsaw Blades – For cutting the shallow curves necessary for my sculptural projects, I find the 1/2″ Woodslicer blades from Highland Woodworking to be the only blade to use! They cut these curves accurately and provide great resaw ability when needed for cuts like resewing the headrest top and back profile.

Jointer –  An 8″ model is better especially when preparing stock for a 7″ wide crest rail. I use an 8″ Powermatic Parallelogram Helical Head 8” Jointer

Table Saw – A 3HP Cabinet Saw with a good fence makes preparing 8/4 stock a lot easier. The Saw Stop Professional Table Saw is the only choice!

Planer – This is a necessity to thickness parts unless you are very good with hand planes. Powermatic 15” with Helical Head”

Producing Parts from a Template:

Band Sawing back legs, spindles, etc.
Bandsaw with a ½” Wood Slicer Blade from Highland Woodworking 

 Use a Lie Nielsen Hand Plane(Jack, Smoother or Block) to flatten and make square the back leg arm and seat stems (seat stem must be square to all faces after adder block is glued onto the back leg and the six degree tapered rip is cut.

Coopering the Saddle:
Jointer- Used for beveling the seat boards.

Festool Domino– Dominoes (8x50mm) give support between seat boards. Dowels can be used requiring a horizontal drill press, biscuits can also work for alignment purposes.

Bandsaw is used for wasting the seat board’s profile before glue up.

Grinder is used with an Extra Coarse Saburr Tooth Carbide Wheelto shape the saddle.

The grinder I use is the Festool RAS 115

 Festool Saphir 24 Grit Papermakes quick work of shaping the seat.

I attach the grinder to a Festool Dust Collector.

For sanding, I use a Mirka Ceros or Deros Sander starting with 60 or 80 grit paper, connected to a dust collector. This is my choice for cleaning up after the grinder. Then I work through the grits to finish with 400 grit paper. The Mirka sander has plenty of torque and is aggressive.

Maloof Type Bridle Joinery:

The Table Saw Blade that gives me a flat bottom notch is a Forrest Woodworker II Special Grind #1. 

If I rabbet with a hand-held router I prefer a Festool Router.

Notch Rabbeting using a Router Table – Kreg Router Tablewith a Triton 3 HP router 

Rabbeting Bit is a ½” (1 ½” Diameter) Whiteside #1922(see link below)

Round Over using a router table with fence and a ¾” Radius Whiteside Round Over #2010

Table Saw joinery cut with a woodworker made Crosscut Sled

A Small Router Plane  (Lie-Nielsen)is used to finish cut the depth of the rabbets for a good fit.  A block of wood with 80 grit sticky back sandpaper is also a necessity for fitting the joint.

Layout/Marking Tools:
Colored Pencils: White, Red, Black
No.2 Pencils, Sharpies, Chalk
Marking Knife, Dividers, Tape Measure, Yardstick, Rule, Squares, Protractor, Bevel Gauge 

Front Legs:

Lathe – 1″ Variable Speed starting w/ zero RPM is best! Roughing Gouge, Lathe Chuck w/ 1/2″ Drill Bit

Shaping Tools:

For detail shaping I use a Foredom TXH440Industrial Flexshaft Grinder and mostly ¼” shaft burrs by Saburr Tooth. Other brands and other Foredom Grinders don’t have the torque no matter their horsepower rating!!!! I use the following burrs:

Coarse 5/8, 1/2, (1/4” shanks) and a 3/8” 1/8” shank Spheres for cutting in at the seat to leg joints

Rasps by Auriou– 12” Cabinetmakers Rasp 10 grain , Modeler’s Rasp 13 grain, Combi Rasp 5/9 grain, various rifflers by Auriou 

Microplanes – All sizes and shapes. Buy from the Microplane website.

Spoke Shaves – by Dave’s Shaves

Scrapers – Small Curved Scraper Setand Lie- Nielsen Set of Light and Heavy Scrapers

Emmert Pattern Makers Vise(copy) to hold work while shaping 

Making the Rockers:
Table Saw for resawing laminates for rockers with Freud Glue Line Rip Blade – 10″ x 30 Tooth – 1/8″ Kerf

Jig for Sawing thin Laminates from Rockler

Sandpaper – 60 thru 400 grit sandpaper for hand sanding plus 3M Pads – Maroon, Gray and White

Special Tools:

Sizing Dowels – Lie-Nielsen Dowel Plate

Fluting Dowels – Fluting Platefrom Highland Woodworking 

Veritas Tenon Cutters (Attn: with the curved blades)– 3/8 and 1/2′ Used by hand for shaping spindle tenons from Lee Valley

Block Plane – Lie-Nielsen 

Dowel-Itfor drilling ½”. Holes to attach the arm to the front leg, and legs to the sleds.

Glues/ Adhesives:

Old Brown Glue– Spindles to seat and headrest, Legs to seat 

Titebond III–  Headrest to Back Legs, Laminating rocker sleds & transitions 

Epoxy– For leg to sled joints – 24 hour only! 

Drilling/ Screwing:

Leg to Seat Holes, Arms to Back Leg Holes, Headrest to Back Leg Holes – Miller Dowel Bit 

Screws – Spax #10×3” Zinc Plated Screws

I am always adding to this tool list and finding improved methods. 

Let me know if you have suggestions!

Charles Brock

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