Questions? cher@designsbystudioc.com

Build a Rocking Chair


How to Build a Rocking Chair

Everyone loves a good rocking chair – whether it is for quiet time drinking coffee, rocking a baby to sleep, or relaxing with friends and family around a fire… It is so easy to build a rocking chair, and I will share how to build a rocking chair that is sturdy and will become a family heirloom (maybe!).

build rocking chair_Copy

build rocking chair DSCF1082

For my chair, I used pieces of 2×6 from the cull bin at Home Depot that I ripped into 2x2s. I also used pieces of 1×6 ripped to 1×3 for the aprons. This chair was very inexpensive, and easy to contruct!  I cut the rockers for my chair using a bandsaw – a jigsaw can also be used. The back legs are cut as two pieces then assembled. They can also be drawn on a 2×6 then cut out as one piece using a jigsaw or a bandsaw. Follow the plans closely, cut the angles as shown, and the pieces will fit together perfectly!

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build rocking chair DSCF1084Materials:

  • 1-1/4″ pocket hole screws
  • 2-1/2″ pocket hole screws
  • 1-1/4″ brad nails
  • 2-1/2″ screws
  • Edge banding, optional
  • Wood glue
  • Sandpaper (100, 150, 220 grits)
  • Finishing supplies (primer & paint, or stain, sealer)

Lumber:

  • 1 – 1×2 at 8′
  • 1 – 1×3 at 8′
  • 3 – 2×2 at 8′
  • 1 – 2′ x 2′ piece of 3/4″ plywood

Cut List:

  • 2 – 2×2 at 11-5/16″ – Lower Back Legs
  • 2 – 2×2 at 20-3/16″ – Upper Back Legs
  • 1 – 2×2 at 21″ – Back Frame
  • 1 – 2×2 at 24″ – Top of Back
  • 1 – 1×3 at 21″ – Back Apron
  • 2 – 2×2 at 24″ – Front Legs
  • 1 – 1×3 at 21″ – Front Apron
  • 2 – 1×3 at 19-7/8″ – Side Stretchers
  • 7 – 1×2 at 13-5/16″ – Back
  • 2 – 2×4 at 29″ – Rockers
  • 1 – 1×2 at 21″ – Lower Stretcher
  • 1 – 3/4″ plywood at 22-1/4″ x 24″ – Seat
  • 2 – 2×2 at 21-7/16″ – Arms

 build rocking chair

Click on the drawings to enlarge them!

Step One

Cut the pieces for the back legs. Cut the angles in each piece as shown. I marked the position for the pocket holes so that I didn’t get confused because there will be a right leg and a left leg. With the pocket hole jig set for 1-1/2″ material, drill the pocket holes as shown. The pocket holes for the upper back piece should be placed as close together as possible so that the screws don’t poke through the front face of the legs. Assemble the legs using glue and 2-1/2″ pocket hole screws.

 build rocking chair_Back Legs 1

build rocking chair_Back Legs 2

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Step Two

Cut the pieces for the back frame. Drill pocket holes in each end of the 2×2 back frame piece, then set the pocket hole jig for 3/4″ material and drill pocket holes in each end of the apron. Assemble the back frame using glue and the appropriate screws for the material (1-1/4″ pocket hole screws for 3/4″ material, and 2-1/2″ pocket hole screws for 1-1/2″ material.).

 build rocking chair_Back Frame

Step Three

Cut the pieces for the front frame. Drill pocket holes in each end of the apron, then reset the pocket hole jig for 1-1/2″ material and drill pocket holes in one end of each of the legs. Secure the apron to the legs using glue and 1-1/4″ pocket hole screws.

 build rocking chair_Front Legs

Step Four

Cut the pieces for the side stretchers and cut the angle as shown. Set the pocket hole jig for 3/4″ material and drill pocket holes in each end. Secure the stretchers to the front and back legs as shown using glue and 1-1/4″ pocket hole screws.

 build rocking chair_Side Stretchers 1

build rocking chair_Side Stretchers 2Step Five

Cut the pieces for the rockers. For my chair, I drew the rockers on the 2×4 pieces then used the bandsaw to cut them out. After cutting, clamp them together and sand. This will help make them identical! Position on the bottom of the front and back legs as shown, then secure using glue and countersunk 2-1/2″ screws. (I originally drilled pocket holes in the bottom of the front and back legs to attach the rockers but couldn’t get the drill in there to drive the screws!)

 build rocking chair_Rockers 1

build rocking chair_Rockers 2Step Six

Cut the piece for the lower stretcher and drill pocket holes in each end. Secure to the center of the rockers using glue and 1-1/4″ pocket hole screws. The top face of the stretcher will be flush with the top face of the rockers.

 build rocking chair_Lower Stretcher

Step Seven

Cut the pieces for the back slats and drill pocket holes in each end. Position the slats as shown with the front faces flush with the front of the back frame using glue and 1-1/4″ pocket hole screws.

 build rocking chair_Back

Step Eight

Cut the piece for the seat and cut the notches using a jigsaw. Apply edge banding to the exposed edges of the plywood, if desired. Secure the seat to the frame using glue and 1-1/4″ brad nails.

 build rocking chair_Seat 1

build rocking chair_Seat 2Step Nine

Cut the pieces for the arms and cut the angle in the back edge as shown. Drill pocket holes in the back edge noting that there will be a right and a left. Secure the arms to the front leg and upper back leg as shown using glue and 2-1/2″ pocket hole screws.

 build rocking chair_Arms 1

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Finish as desired!

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I have always wanted to learn how to build a rocking chair so I decided to whip up these plans, then test them out. I did not run into any problems and am thrilled with the results – I hope you will be, as well! I plan on painting my chair with exterior paint and using it outside!

Have questions about the plan? Let me know at cher {at} designsbystudioc {dot} com!

Designs by Studio C is your DIY connection to How-To information, DIY projects and free furniture plans. Have questions about the plans? Contact me at cher@designsbystudioc.com!
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