Friday, August 15, 2014

Leveling a Rocker

I leave off, for I seek to hold the wind in a net

Sir Thomas Wyatt

This is a bench I built awhile back, sold to a professor and Harvard Medical School. Really have to build another one...the next one will be Tavern Green. I think. Anyway, this post will be about leveling a rocker side to side.

Unlike regular chairs, in which you level it left to right then measure the seat front and seat back, then trim the legs, rockers are, or rather can be, much harder to level.  Because the slot is cut with a router, the only real way to level the rocker left to right is to chop the bottom of the slot deeper with a chisel. This I have found is a tedious process.

So the last rocker, or one rocker anyway, I had a great idea.  What if I measured the leg length relative to the seat AFTER the legs were reamed and set in the chair.  That way, the shortest one, the shortest leg would become the baseline leg and the other legs could then be trimmed to this length on the lathe, and then the slots cut with a router.  Let me back up. The legs are trimmed in pairs, front to front, back to back.

So here you can see the difference in leg lengths after reaming and placing the legs in the seat. By using dividers, my large ones, I simply find the length of the shorter leg and then mark the longer one.

Then I turn the leg to length on the lathe with a parting tool, and viola the legs are all the same length. Well, the front two match and the back two match.  This means that once the rockers are placed in the slots, the chair will automatically be level left to right.  Ez-pz.  Below you can see the difference on the length.  Not a huge difference but enough to be a pain leveling, especially with maple as in this chair.