Weekend Project

Justin Newcombe's tips on outdoor DIY projects

Weekend project: On your rocker

By Justin Newcombe

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As the Queen prepares to celebrate her birthday, Justin Newcombe makes sure he has somewhere to relax and enjoy holiday in suitably regal style.

Justin Newcombe in his finished throne rocking chair. Photo / Natalie Slade
Justin Newcombe in his finished throne rocking chair. Photo / Natalie Slade

For this Queen's birthday weekend I've designed a rocking chair. My wife told me it looked more like Santa's sleigh ("All set for the big parade, sweetheart") than the Queen's rocker. In fact her jibes have been so merciless I'm thinking of demoting her from wife to life partner.

The instructions for this project are quite long - in the interests of being thorough rather than the chair being overly complicated to build. The design is easy to adapt and with the right paint job you can theme it any way you want. The big question though is, is it comfortable to sit in? And the answer is a big fat yes. So perhaps I shouldn't be so hard on my wife: with the addition of a blow-up reindeer and some flashing lights I'll be all set for a midwinter Christmas.

Step 1

Make out a quarter profile of an oval using a piece of flexible timber or dowel to form the curve. Then cut out the profile. This will be your pattern.

Step 2

Using the quarter oval profile, mark out two oval shapes on a sheet of ply then cut out with a jigsaw.

Step 3

Screw the ovals together and sand, file or plane the edges so they are an exact match.

Step 4

Unscrew the ovals and mark the first one out for the internal cutting. I arranged the seat and rim first then used a compass to draw the rest. I've made all the positive areas (areas which will remain after cutting) 50mm. I set the bottom apex of the seat behind the centre of the oval so the chair rocks backwards when someone is sitting in it. I've made sure my decorative circles make contact with the outside of the oval every 150mm or so. These contact points act as spokes and make the whole structure stronger.

Step 5

Drill access holes into the negative areas (the parts you will cut away) of your pattern so you can get your jigsaw blade in.

Step 6

Cut out the first oval which will act as a pattern for the rest. Once the pattern is cut out, tidy the edges with a file or sandpaper. I've used a Dremmel - a massive timesaver.

Step 7

Place the cut out oval on the second oval and trace on the pattern, then repeat steps five and six.

Step 8

For the seat cut out a length of ply 1200mm by 600mm and mark into two 600mm squares. Draw a line 50mm inside each then draw a pattern inside each 50mm box. This could be a series of lines 50mm apart or something more ambitious, just make sure it's comfortable to sit in. I've made two types of seat pattern. The first making simple lines using a router and the second by drilling two holes at each end of a skill saw cut. Once the oval is cut out finish with sandpaper, a file or a Dremmel.

Step 9

Cut six lengths of 50mm x70mm timber the same measurement as the width of the seat. My seat is 600mm wide with the seat overlapping the 12mm of each oval section so my 50x70mm timbers are 576mm long. These are used to hold the two ovals together. Glue and screw four of these at the top and bottom and front and back of both parts of the seat. For support I have also attached one under the seat at the bottom of the oval and behind the back of the seat.

Step 10

Paint the oval rocker with and under coat and two coats of gloss then paint the seat sections. Finally, screw and glue seat sections into place.

- NZ Herald

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