Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Rocking Chair

I made this rocking chair during winter term in a furniture studio class in school.  On the first day, we were expected to show up with three design ideas to be critiqued.  Over the next three months, we refined one idea as we made full size drawings and two rounds of full size mock-ups to test proportions and aesthetics.  We had amazing instructors who helped us move quickly through design iterations and shared their lifetimes of woodworking knowledge with us.  Some people in the class had a little bit of experience and some had none at all, but we all ended up producing high quality work, which is primarily a testament to the instructors.

Making this chair was easily the hardest I've ever worked in my life.  Near the end I put in two 100 hour weeks and I didn't "finish" until 4 am the day of the review - although I still had a fair amount of sanding and finishing that I ended up doing over spring break.

The wood is all cherry, mostly from one enormous 16/4 board.  The side rails are shaped by hand with a spokeshave and mitered and joined with splines.  There are two cross rails that support the seat and back.  The seat and back have complex curves on both sides, which was done on a CNC router.  It's finished with clear OSMO which has given the wood a nice, rich red tone.  The initial idea for the chair was a compact rocking chair that would fit in an urban environment and have a strong sense of it's own hand-crafted identity.  It was an incredible experience and learning process and I would love to find a way to do woodworking professionally in the future.

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