Granny takes a trip through time with this retro-inspired rocking chair. Its organic curves and contrasting textures of raw timber and block colour will look just as groovy in your pad as they did circa Woodstock. Made with a single sheet of plywood cut into shapes and short lengths of dowel to join them, this project is as simple as it is stylish. Finish with a solid colour on the sides and hard-wearing lacquer, and you’re ready to rock.
Gather your supplies
• Inner and outer side panels (4) 875 x 800 x 17mm CD plywood
• Runners (2) 680 x 30 x 5mm Tasmanian Oak rounded moulding
• Rods (49) 600 x 16mm diameter Tasmanian Oak dowel
You’ll also need
Jigsaw; cordless drill; 30mm screws; belt sander; cardboard; combination square; 16mm spade bit; PVA glue; self-priming low sheen acrylic; water-based clear coating (satin); 50mm stainless steel decking screws; wood filler; 30mm nails
Follow the steps to create 1 side panel assembly to complete the second panel.
Step 1 Draw a 50mm grid on rough face of plywood sheet. Using grid diagram, mark where the shape crosses grid lines, then join these points. Using jigsaw, cut out shape to create 1 side panel
Step 2 Place side panel back on remaining plywood and trace around it. Cut out shape. Repeat to make 2 more side panels. Ensure you trace and cut so the good face of the plywood is on the left of 2 panels and on the right for the other two.
Step 3 Pair 2 panels so both have smoothest faces showing outwards. Line up edges and tack together with 30mm screws. (These will need to be unscrewed and patched later.) Repeat with the other pair of panels, with screws going through opposite side. The panels with the screws will be the inner side panels of the chair.
Step 4 Using belt sander, smooth edges of each side panel assembly.
Step 5 To mark inner side panels for chair rods, first mark strip of cardboard in 50mm increments. Starting near bottom of chair, place cardboard against edge and transfer marks on cardboard to panel. Shift cardboard along edge, lining it up with the marks just completed and repeat. Move around chair until you get towards the bottom on other side. Make sure you have 49 marks around the edge.
Step 6 To mark the setback line on inner side panels, set your combination square with the rule 8mm from the body. With a pencil at the end of the rule, run body of square all the way around edge of inner side panel.
Step 7 Unscrew and separate the side panels. Using drill fitted with 16mm spade bit, drill holes on the inner side panel where each of the chair rod positions meets the setback line. To make things easier, place panel on a scrap piece of timber to stop the timber splintering when the drill bit breaks through.
Step 8 With jigsaw, cut along setback line on inner side panel. Sand cut edges smooth.
Step 9 Spread PVA glue on panels and join them back together. Use combination square to make sure distance between edges of panels is 8mm all around chair.
Step 10 Round ends of runners with sander. Drill 2 countersink holes at each end and in the centre. Place centrally on bottom edge of side panel assembly. Predrill and screw 50mm decking screws through centre holes first, then bend runner to screw at either end. Take care not to split the timber when fixing at each end.
Step 11 To mark screw positions of rods on outer side panel, drill from inside of panel where centre of rod will sit. Start at 1 of the end rods at the bottom of the chair, then repeat at every third rod position around chair. Turn over and drill a countersink hole in the face of the outside panel at these points.
Step 12 Apply 2 coats of selected self-priming paint to outside face of outer panel, allowing to dry after each coat.
Step 13 Fill screw holes on inside of chair. Let dry, then sand smooth. Apply 2 coats of clear finish to all sides of side panel assemblies, including painted side. Allow to dry after each coat. Also clear-coat lengths of dowel for chair rods.
Step 14 At a few of the drilled positions around the chair, position rods, predrill and screw through outside panel into rod using 50mm decking screws. (This will make it easier to attach opposite panel assembly.) Turn over, place second panel assembly on rods in corresponding positions and screw in place. Continue around chair, attaching rods in each of the drilled positions.
Step 15 Using a fine drill bit, predrill across ends of chair rods, leaving edge of inner side panel undrilled. Glue and nail rods into the inner side panel. Fill holes, let dry, then sand smooth. Touch up filler with clear coat.