Lee Valley Tools Woodworking Newsletter
Vol. 3, Issue 2
November 2008
Building a Mission-style Rocking Chair

About two years ago, I began what was to be my most challenging woodworking project to date—a Mission-style rocking chair. I incorporated design ideas from a variety of sources including a published plan, a few existing chairs and a photo of an antique rocker I found online. The chair was a wedding gift for my sister, but both my wife and I found we missed it after giving it away. So, about a year later,
I began my second rocker.
I started with the same basic design as my previous rocking chair and even used many of the same measurements. However,
I made some minor design modifications to add comfort, such as a taller back, and removed a few elements I found structurally and aesthetically
Mission-style rocking chair
The author's Mission-style rocking chair.
unnecessary, such as lower stretchers between the seat and the rockers.

This rocker was made using walnut and cherry and several key parts were resawn and bookmatched to show symmetrical grain patterns. These design changes were interesting, but I specifically wanted to challenge myself with this second rocker by trying some new techniques, rather than just making a copy of the first one using different woods. I decided to incorporate more complex joinery, most of which was not used in the construction of the first rocker, and some of which I had never tried on a furniture piece. This did indeed result in a challenging project, which took at least as long to build as the first rocker. However, it also resulted in a very rewarding process and turned out to be one of my favorite projects so far.

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