Mark ( on January 12th, 2010

The moment of truth finally arrived and it was time to glue up some of the parts of the chair that have been worked on for some time now.  I can tell you that with so much time put into creating these parts and knowing how fast a botched glue-up can occur, it was with some trepidation that I approached this task.

Front Leg Transition PieceDrilling-Front-Leg-Transition-PieceBefore doing any glue-ups I needed to create some transition blocks that will sit atop the front legs where they will join into the arms.  These blocks started as 3″ by 5″ blocks at about 1 1/2″ thick and will get sculpted into the arms and legs after they are mounted with glue and screws.  Because of the compound angles of the front legs the angles for the screw holes were marked by eye to align with both angles of the front legs.  This was done on adjacent faces of the transition blocks with a white pencil.   Then the blocks were put into a vise at the drill press so that both of the lines were set square to the table and the screw holes were drilled.

Gluing-Front-Leg-Transition-PieceWith the holes in the transition blocks drilled, the blocks were held in position on top of the legs and the holes were started into the tops of the front legs.  These holes were drilled to depth after removing the blocks to allow the bit to reach full depth.  Next, glue was applied to the tops of the legs and the underside of the transition blocks and the screws were put in aligning the inside faces of the blocks with the inside edge of the front leg joints.

Front Leg Tansition LayoutBandsawing Front Leg Transition 1Bandsawing Front Leg Transition 2Front Leg Transitions in PlaceAfter the glue on the transition blocks dried, curves were laid out on two faces of the blocks.  These curves were done such that they can be sawed on the band saw and/or ground away to fair the  legs into the arms.  I cut two ends of the blocks on the band saw but kept the offcuts to help later with clamping to the arms.  The remaining material will be ground away when shaping the legs into the arms.

I spent a good deal of time dry fitting both the front and rear legs into their respective joints and dry clamping the assemblies to check the fit of the joints.  Because of time passing between the initial fitting of these joints the wood has dried out and a few small gaps appeared.   As a result I needed a couple of tiny shims the close the gaps.  Finally satisfied with the fit of the joints I moved on to the glue up.

Clamping Rear Leg JointGluing Rear LegsI can tell you that the few words that I write here will not convey the amount of prep work and effort involved in the glue up of the legs.  The rear legs were first and involved using a couple of 6 degree wedges to apply clamping pressure appropriately.  The joints were glues with a liberal coating of Titebond III one legs at a time.  Once the first leg was fully seated, then the other leg could be glued before clamps were applied.  After the clamping the excess glue was wiped away with a dry towell and the joints were left to dry over night.

Gluing Front LegsThe next day, it was time for the glue up of the front legs.  I rigged a temporary support to hold the chair up as the first legs was being glued.  The other leg was left in place as a clamping point until the first joint had fully seated.  Then the other leg could be glued and the clamps were applied.  No clamping blocks were needed because the front legs have a “built-in” set of blocks in the excess material at the joint that will eventually be ground away to fair the legs into the the seat.

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2 Responses to “Sculpted Rocking Chair: Front Leg Transitions and Gluing the Legs”

  1. Are the front leg transition pieces something that you are adding yourself or are they part of Hal’s design? I have an older set of his plans and don’t recall seeing these transition pieces?



  2. Hi Kevin,

    Thanks for stopping by the blog.

    I have Hal’s older plans too and you’re correct these transitions are not part of those plans. Hal’s newer work includes this new transition from the front legs into the arms.

    This was an area that I was not particularly fond of on the original design so I wanted to alter it anyway. I’m mimicking Hal’s new design element in this area – which I think makes for a nicer chair.


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