Friday, August 15, 2014

Rainy Day Project: Rocking Chair 1

August in Maine is usually dry, sometimes dangerously dry. Not this August. I have lost a lot of building time to rain. I'm not sitting around twiddling my thumbs, though. One of the projects I have been working on is a rocking chair that I plan to use in the JayBee.

A lot of tiny houses save space by making all the furniture built in to the tiny spaces. Often in the living area this means the seating is a bench with a cushion. This would never work for me! I'm no longer young, and I see a chiropractor on a regular basis as it is; I need to have seats that are comfortable and provide good back support.

Below is a rocker (minus its cushions) that I've had for years. It has a smaller footprint than most rockers (so will be easier to fit into a tiny house), and it is comfortable. As you can see, the chair has seen better days. Unfortunately, the caning had been stained the same color as the wood on the chair (something you are never supposed to do!), so it had become really brittle. The stain has been shedding off the caning for years (making quite a mess, thank you very much), and the caning was broken in a number of spots. The chair really needed a makeover.

First, I removed all the caning from the back and sides. This takes a long time!

Then, I removed the worn out and torn upholstery in the seat.

I installed new cane webbing in one side of the chair...

...and in the other side as well. If you approach this step with patience, it actually goes pretty quickly.

I installed new cane webbing in the back of the chair. At this point, I left the caning alone to let it dry completely before trimming the edges.

The springs were in really good shape but, on their own, they moved around a lot, so I used lacing (from my rug-braiding supplies) to stabilize the springs by tying them to the sides of the chair.

I covered the springs with a piece of canvas.

On top of that, I layered some batting, some memory foam, and another layer of canvas. (I already had the canvas, memory foam, and batting, so none of these things cost me anything.)

I added some jute trim around three edges of the seat. (I also added a layer of canvas to the underside of the chair.)

Then I built a padded bumper for the front edge of the chair. The seat and back cushions will be covered with the same fabric as the bumper.

Finally, I trimmed the edges of the cane webbing in the back and sides of the chair. This step took a long time!

If it keeps raining, I guess I will have time to sew the chair cushions. I'll post a rocker update when the cushions are done.


  1. OMG--It already looks awesome. My jealousy reaches new heights.

  2. Thank you, DWR and kris. I was so reluctant to start this project because I knew that once I removed the old caning there was no turning back, and I wondered if I could install new caning effectively. I am really pleased with how the chair has come out so far (it is actually comfortable to sit in now--even without the cushions), and I am glad you like it.