How to Build an Outdoor Rocking Chair
With only a few common tools, you can build an outdoor rocking chair. Save yourself some time from the outset, and purchase a kit or a set of detailed plans. With a kit like the one that will be assembled here, all of the required pieces are supplied, which eliminates having to calculate material or make complicated cuts. This project will only take a few hours, so you can put it together during the day, and relax in your new rocking chair in the evening.
Step 1: Constructing the Back
Begin constructing your outdoor rocking chair by putting the bottom and side of the chair together, installing the slats, and sliding the top of the chair down over them, locking the slats in position. Install the bolts or screws which hold the top on, and set the seat back aside. It is ready to be installed. Make sure that all parts are properly tightened, and that the back doesn't wobble when it is shaken.
Step 2: Building the Seat
Assemble the rocking chair seat. Begin by building the frame, and then turn it upside down. Install the adjusting bracket for the seat back. This bracket helps to anchor the seat, and allows you to adjust the amount of incline. Turn the seat back over, and install the slats. Depending on the style of the rocking chair, the slats may run front-to-back or side-to-side.
Step 3: Connecting Back and Seat
On most oak rocking chair kits, there will be three stabilizer posts that extend through or behind the seat. These posts connect to the brackets installed in Step 2. Instead of a tight joint, these posts are often connected using smooth shank bolts that allow them to pivot somewhat during seat back adjustments.
Step 4: Legs and Rockers
Install the legs into the bottom of the seat. In most applications, they will fit into a bracket which is screwed into place, but some models may have mounting brackets that are adjusted with wings buts or even with threaded rod protruding from the top which screws directly to the seat. Insert the bottom of the legs into the rockers. Be sure that the long side of the rocker extends behind the chair, and insert the foot into the pre-drilled hole. Turn the chair on it's side and install the retaining screws through the bottom of the rocker. Most models will have a recessed connecting hole to prevent the screw heads from potentially damaging the floor.
Step 5: Adding a Finish
Stain and varnish, or paint the chair in any way you choose. For a children's rocking chair, you may wish to add colorful decals of animals or numbers and letters. For adults, a warm rich varnish adds a sophisticated appeal to the chair, or paint it to match the trim of the home. Decorate the seat with a cushion, and the project is complete.