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Builders Showcase // Patio Rocker

05.06.15 By //
The Design Confidential Builders Showcase Eunnyjang's Patio Rocker

I built this rocking chair pretty much as soon as the plans came out! It's still snowing here in Colorado but I'm making sure I'm super-prepared for summer.

I love the way this turned out, barring a couple glaring errors that hopefully won't be noticed once everything is sanded and painted. Thanks for the great plans—they were precise and error-free.

Estimated Cost 

$20 for hardware and paint—all the lumber was leftovers and scraps from other projects.

Length of Time 

An entire Saturday and Sunday morning, including two unnecessary hardware store trips because I kept buying hardware with weird threadings that didn't' work together!

Modifications 

I made a handful of modifications:

1 – I tweaked the rocker curve for a faster rock (more like a 39″ or 40″ radius) and to shape the edges a little more. I also made the rockers out of 2-by material instead, partially because that's what I had and also because I made my chair out of softwood—I felt like they needed to be a little beefier to be stable and wear well on a brick patio.

2 – My chair was a little prone to splaying out at the back of the rocking action—I think because of the wood—so I used a length of all-thread as a stretcher between the back legs. It works really well to keep the rockers perfectly parallel and makes the rocking much smoother and more stable.

3 – Replaced the two bolts at each joint with one because I wanted to counter-bore with a washer on the outside; the joints are additionally pinned with screws from the inside to prevent racking. The benefit to doing it this way is that I could dry-assemble the whole chair and adjust everything slightly to get things perfectly level and make the rocking super-smooth before adding glue and screws.

I also swapped out the slats for 2.5″ wide strips to match better with some other patio furniture I have, and made the seat back lower for more of a low-slung look.

Lumber Used 

Construction Douglas fir that had been sitting in my shed for a couple of months.

Finishing Technique 

Unfinished thus far, but I'm planning to paint with acrylic enamel in a fun yellow. I'll probably eventually cut the bolts down, too; I counter-bored for them so they stick out a bit too far.

The Design Confidential Builders Showcase Eunnyjang's Patio Rocker
The Design Confidential Builders Showcase Eunnyjang's Patio Rocker

I tried template/pattern routing for the first time on this project, and it worked out amazingly well. I made my rocker template on 1/2″ MDF (which also gave me a good chance to lay out and tweak the curve before committing) and then used it to make two exactly identical rockers. I also used the router to trim excess off the side frames, using the rocker surface as the new “template”. The finished edges are smooth, flush, and perfectly the same—something I could never have accomplished freehand with a jigsaw.

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