custom wooden rocking chair blog

Custom wooden rocking chair design & build blog

Please have a look at what were up to, if you have any questions or comments please post! If you want any specific pictures taken please let us know.

6 Day build your own rocking chair class with Fred

Another build your own rocking chair couse comes to an end, here you can see some pictures of the 6 days we spend in my shop. From picking the raw lumber to a beautiful custom rocking chair which needs some shaping and sanding. Always a great time with lot’s of work being put in each 10 hour day.

Here we begin by choosing our lumber, we start typically in the raw slab form. Most lumber is locally sourced through small saw mills & tree service companys. This is Canadian Black Walnut

After rough cutting to length the boards have to have some flat faces, with the jointer we can create a smooth face and edge at 90 degrees

The coopered headrest comes from a single piece which gets cut into smaller pieces then glued together but coopered like a barrel

Grinding the seat with a coarse Kutzall carbide shaping wheel

Giving the arms some shape with a tapered cove made on the table saw

Adding a tapered chamfer by hand using a kutzall sculpting wheel

Laying out the front legs

Rocking chair legs being traced from templates

Trimming headrest to size on the table saw

The headrest was cut and glued together coopered like a barrel to allow use to have a deep sweeping curve, now we can cut out the final sized headrest

Follow the lines carefully!

We’ve made some progress on our custom rocking chairs!

Here we are adding the “stacks” which will give use the fair smooth transitions from the rocker to the legs

Trimming the coopered headrest to fit between the rears legs

Easy does it, very close now maybe a little more still to trim

Pre drilling holes in the rocker to attache to the legs, Fred was impressed my the built in light in the drill press. 

This is a 1 on 1 course where I build a chair while I describe and do what we need to do at each step then you proceed to do the same. This time around Fred beat me to to this step…… The first sit! Finally after about 50 hours of work we get to sit in our chairs for the first time. My rocking chair is on the left, Fred is enjoying his.

A Job well done! This was my 6 day build your own rocking chair course. You will leave with a beautiful rocking chair that needs all the sanding and some shaping. 


10 day build your own rocking chair class - graduation day!

Here greg is trimming his coopered headrest at a 6 degree angle to fit in between the rear legs

Test fitting the coopered headrests 

The headrests are now trimmed to length and the top and bottom curves have been cut

Beautiful unique one of a kind wedge rocking chair seat wrapped in curly maple

Sculpting the seat joints using an angle grinder & a kutzall solid carbide shaping wheel

Bent laminated rocking chair back braces or supports  made from curly maple, wedge, and quilted maple

This is me Paul Lemiski with my idea for a beautiful rocking chair wood combination built from Curly Maple and Wenge

Fitting the rocking chair headrest, after coopering, shaping and sanding.

It fits!

Sand sand sand! 

Still sanding, all my pieces are sanded from 120-150 grit all the way through to 1000 then burnished with a wool pad before the hand rubbed oil / varnish finish is applied.

90% of all sanding gets done on the chair before the rockers are attached to the legs

About to trim the rockers to flow into our leg bottoms

Rockers have been trimmed to flow with some nice fair curves into the leg bottoms, the top side then gets a round over before being attached to the chair

The seat is built from Quilted Maple wrapped in Canadian Black Walnut. The seat was created using multiple layers that have been glued together in the vacuum bag

The final details, here Greg is filling a small defect with 2 part epoxy coloured with black pigment

Getting very close now to being finished, just hours and hours of sanding left

Sanded to a polish!

The chair is now complete, the 3 part oil / poly finish has been wiped on, now we wait and wipe off in about 30 minutes

Done! We waited and wiped the finish off this allows the finish to soak into the wood and offer a slow building finish that is really easy to apply and maintain

The teacher Paul Lemiski & the student Greg…… Great job I must admit!

Always a big smile at the end but who am I kidding we had a big smile from picking up the first piece of raw lumber to loading the chair into Gregs truck, we had a great 10 days and we both built a beautiful rocking chair that will be around for generations. Congrats on the new addition to your family Greg, and i’m not talking about the chair. That is a smile of a soon to be dad! Way to go!


Build your own rocking chair class is in session

Build your own rocking chair 1 on 1 class now in session!

Making a straight edge on this quilted maple slab,  to be used as a rocking chair seat inlay

easy does it, slow and steady always get a nice smooth cut on the band saw

This is the rocking chair seat I’m working on along side my currant student, Greg.

Trimming seat to size

Got clamps? Making the flexible bent laminated back supports and of course 2 pairs of rocking chair rockers

Pay attention, very important measure lot’s & only cut once

Walnut & Curly Maple leg blanks

Using a festal router with a brass bushing, to make the perfect 2’’ x 7/8’’ notch needed near the front of the seat. 

Removing the material, where the backs of the bottoms of our legs rest

Laying out the back brace holes and routing 

Greg shaping the cove into his rocking chair arms, with a holding fixture across the table saw

Our rocking chair legs are well on there way

The seats are coming along nicely, time to shape the sides

Wenge & Curly maple rocking chair seat


Canadian Woodworks at the 2013 One of a kind show

one of a kind show ooak custom furniture booth canadian woodworks

Once again the Christmas One of a kind show at the Direct Energy Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada has come and gone! I always seem to find my self working very long days late into the evenings juggling my client orders with my booth pieces and planning. This year was no different, especially because I doubled the size of my booth to a 10’ x 20’. I decided to apply what i’ve learned from previous shows to improve my setup/takedown and organization of my handmade furniture.

one of a kind show handmade solid wood furniture

This year I built my entire booth inside my work show, I built hard walls which I painted white, and numbered for easy take down and setup. I also made a major change to a vinyl “hardwood” looking floor, thankfully it came in just days before the show. To put the floor down was quick and easy just unroll and apply double sided carpet tape. It worked and looked great!

one of a kind show heirloom trestle table

With all my pieces completed it was time for the move in, I spent the morning loading my pieces into the trailer knowing I would just have to unload in a few hours to begin the setup….. this is going to be a long day I thought.

My fine woodworking instagram feed


If you don’t follow me on Instagram I have a treat for you, below is most of my latest pictures i’ve posted through my Instagram account if you don’t follow me now is the time to start.

A student during my build your own chair course, working on the front leg joint of a walnut low back chair

Hand sculpting some chair seats, what a view!

Low back settee is the works, some sculpting needing to be done still. Oh and the sanding of course

Sanding a pair of Walnut low back chair legs

Ready for pick up, a set of Walnut counter stools

Walnut & Curly Maple dining chair

sanding maloof style walnut low back chair

Low back chair is progress, just hours and hours of sanding left (-:

Beautiful Walnut grain patterns in this low back chair

One proud craftsman, designed and built during my low back chair class.

Walnut low back chair all finished, just a few coats of hand rubbed oil/poly finish to be applied

Walnut with Black & White Ebony flexible back braces makes up this beautiful solid wood rocking chair

Maloof leg joint detail

10 Dining chair in the works, designed after a Stephen Harris dining chair built in 1975

Finally time to glue up the back rest on this Walnut low back settee 

flowing cherry grain dining chair leg joint seat

Flowing Canadian Black Cherry leg to seat transtion 

Maloof joint detail side of cherry dining chair seat

glass top barn beam table

Commissioned piece a 6x6 glass top outdoor barn beam table

walnut hand made chair settee

Walnut low back settee…… sanding….sanding…….sanding

Oh some more sanding!

Tight tongue and groove joinery for this sculpted cherry coffee table

live edge coffee table

Cherry live edge coffee table

This is how every chair starts, a full scale mock up, then onto the templates

A beautiful view & a beautiful chair

My shop helper and his finished chair!

cherry sculpted counter stool

Cherry sculpted counter stool ready for delivery

A sculpted rocking chair seat ready to have the seat section sanded, after an our of carving with my Kutzall carbide shaping wheel

Walnut dining chair trestle glue up

Maca wood sculpted ding chair in the works

Hand shaping the flowing arms

My bandsaw has been busy!

jatoba pie custom rocking chair seats

Jatoba & Ipe lite sculpted rocking chair seats ready to have there legs attached

curly cherry coffee table live edge

Some beautiful curly Cherry on the bottom of this live edge coffee table

Chairs lined up, keep them moving….. sand sand sand!

Flowing grain in this custom sculpted rocking chair






Canadian Woodworks   -   Custom wooden rocking chairs dining chairs bar stools and tables    -    Hand Made in Acton Ontario Canada
Paul Lemiski    -    info@canadianwoodworks.com