Building a Rocking Chair to Share With Others

Like many woodworkers, I have a fondness for Greene & Greene furniture. Inlayed ebony, precious metals, fine details, a mastery of negative space and the fact that each piece was designed for the room in the house that it was built for meant each piece was not just a work of art, but perhaps one-of-a-kind.

In 2015 after two years of research I built the Gamble House Living Room Rocking Chair. To me, the finest chair the Greene brothers designed and the Hall brothers built.

In woodworking as with many things in life, I’ve found it best to not push, but to do when it feels right.

During 2013 and 2014 I built two versions of Arm Chair from the Living Room. Learning with each iteration the details the Rocker and Arm Chair shared visually.

In January, 2015 it felt right. After a trip to Pasadena and with knowelge gleamed from that trip I started to build my 3D model and create 2D views with MDF. The original was much smaller. Made for a time when people were smaller. I would need to scale mine up, but keep it true to the original.

On May 14, 2015 I did a crazy thing — I told my woodworking school students and YouTube subscribers that this rocking chair would be the next project class for the build. I had never built this chair before.

Over the next four months with just north of 300 man hours the rocking chair was built and it rocked. Another 100 man hours later the class was edited and 60 pages of plans and full size templates were available to the world.

Last week, my student Lee sent me a beautiful photo. He and I have been conversing since March of this year when he started his Gamble House Inspired Rocking Chair.

Selfishly I built this chair for me. However, this photo is the legacy I hope to create with and for so many others. I don’t have kids yet, but this must be what it feels like to see them accomplish something grand!

Good job, Lee! — My first student to finish this project.

Lee’s Chair in Claro Walnut
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