Build Your own Rocking Chair
Typically the total cost is $5,000, although it can be more if you pick a wood other than Black Walnut, Cherry, or a Maple. The way this works is that you find a week or so of free time and for the price of one of my chairs, build one of your own using my templates, under my supervision, in my shop, using my tools. If you are a local we can stretch this out over a slightly longer period if it is more convenient. If you come from out of town we will work 12 hours a day for 7 to 10 days in order that we might actually complete a chair. The best part of this program is that at the end you can truthfully point to your chair and say "I made that." You can take it with you at the end if you have a vehicle or I can arrange shipping.
For the woodworkers and hobbyists who have done this with me I can truthfully say that for all of them it was absolutely a pinnacle in their woodworking careers and that each had something that they could rightfully take a great deal of pride in at the end of the week. It's also a nice way to spend a week; meeting another woodworker, talking politics and other trash, making sawdust, eating out, etc. in our generally perfect Florida weather. I order the wood you want in advance and have everything ready to go the moment you step through the door.
I've found the process to vary a great deal depending on the student and the skills they bring to the shop. If you already have a good foundation of woodworking skills the process typically takes less time than it would take if you are a novice woodworker:
Day 1 Using inventory chairs of different sizes that I have in my office we decide on the features you prefer and the sizing you require and then going out to the shop translate these modifications into various standard size templates I have and create a set of wooden templates for your chair. We then mill your wood enough to see the figure and grain and decide which boards and sections we will use for all the various parts. We will then glue up your seat, cut out your rear legs and cut all the laminate strips for your rockers, back braces and transition stacks and glue up and clamp the the first 4 back braces and one of the rockers.
Day 2 We will glue up and clamp the other 4 back braces and second rocker, do more shaping on the rear legs, add additional material to the joint area of the rear legs, carve your seat, start making the front legs. glue up headrest pieces and cut the four joints in your seat.
Day 3 Finish gluing headrest, finish making front legs and start "fitting" the front and rear legs to the seat.
Day 4 Finish seat configuration, glue rear legs to seat, cut out and make our arms, cut lower spindles in back braces, glue front legs to seat.
Day 5 Cut and dry-fit headrest, mark cut and finish-sand upper spindles in back braces, finish sand rear legs and headrest, glue up headrest to rear legs with spindles installed, set chair on rockers, glue up transition stacks of laminate strips on rockers, install and glue arms.
Day 6 Fair-in all joints into seat, shape rockers and transition stacks and glue up rockers to chair. Finish sanding....
Day 7 Finish sand most of day and apply first coat of finish. The second coat of finish can be applied the morning of an 8th day or once you get your chair home.
In reality some operations may take longer or shorter than normal and the order of things may be shifted around some as you build your own rocking chair. Also, it should be noted that building a chair from start to finish in one week requires long days with few breaks so be prepared to start by 6 am and finish by 7 pm or so each day. If you want to take a more leisurely approach that's fine but your stay in Sarasota will necessarily be extended accordingly. When you are done I guarantee you will have a chair that will outlive you and be prized by your heirs for generations.
Sarasota is an incredibly beautiful oceanfront community and has the #1 beaches in the entire U.S. year after year. Bring your family; they can stay at the beach all day while you work in the shop. If you're interested give me a call, book a time and send me a 50% deposit so I know you are serious and can also order the wood you select. I look forward to hearing from you. Deposits or payments made on "build your own classes" are non-refundable but can be applied to the purchase of a chair if you change your mind.
Parker Converse Rocking Chairs 1781 Mellon Way Sarasota, FL 34232 941-232-5434 Email