Making a Rocker





Ike (Isaac Curran) is now displaying work in The Coastal Design Gallery in Campbeltown Jane & Grant Logan have a well appointed gallery, Grant designs and makes stunning jewellery . I have now created a photo page on "photobucket" its a lot easier for me to upload pictures directly to the albums and that way folk can see what we are making.  You can visit my page click here: IKE CURRAN PICTURES


Craft Fair News


I am very sorry to announce that due to ongoing ill health Isaac cannot organise and run the botanic Gardens Craft fair, all dates are cancelled.  Isaac had a procedure on his spine early in February and has just been discharged from hospital with ongoing heart decease problems (29 February 2016).  Isaac and myself are truly sad that this has had to be cancelled.


















By Ike Curran Member of the guild of Rocking Horse makers number 884

Please feel free to email me with any questions


Tools Used

I use a standard basic set of hand carving tools

Band Saw for cutting out the pieces

micro plane cutters

Arbotech carving attachment

Axminster Heavy duty Flexible drive for burs etc

Wood Used

I tend to use Tulip Wood (American Kiln Dried poplar) for the actual horse and if I am making a swinger type horse then I use Ash for the base.  With a dolly rocker the type of wood used for the base is not so important so I use whatever I have.  In the picture above I used Ash for the rockers and mahogany for the treads.

The very first thing that you need to do is to cut out the all of the various pieces of the horse, I am afraid at the moment I dont have pictures of that but will add them with the next rocker I make.


FIG 1.  Having cut out the shape using a band saw you can then begin to carve the front part of the head as far back as the cheeks, which you can see in fig1  Once again I did not take the pictures of this but will follow up next time I make one.  I found it really useful to have pictures of the final shape close at hand at all stages and I am happy to send my pictures out to anyone who asks.


 FIG 2.  Is just to emphasize that the next thing you do is to glue the neck muscles onto the head section.  The reason that you do it in this sequence is so that if you mess up carving the front part of the head then you can discard that with no real problem.  The Lug you can see at the back of the neck is cut out right at the start and is there so that you can clamp the head down.


FIG 3.  I have included this picture just to show a front view of the head, getting the detail around the nose can be fiddly as can the ears, I have managed to break a couple of ears off before now, not so critical on a dolly rocker as you can glue them back on, however on a rocker that's going to be "USED" for children then you really need to make sure they are doweled on so that if the child grabs an ear its a strong joint.










FIG 4 and 4a

Here you can see the whole horse glued up, best way to do this is to start by gluing the head and neck onto the main body, then you can glue the legs to the underside (belly) finally gluing the top to the bottom.  Once again when I do the next one I will include the pics



FIG 5 and 5a

This shows where I have started to shape the neck muscles into the head area, as well as shaping the back of the neck





Its just a case now of keep shaping and refining.  Dont get too worked up if you make a little mistake and maybe take a tad too much off, I find that in the long run it really doesn't show up that much.





The pictures to fig 11 show the stages of shaping, I use the arbotech mini for general shape and then the microplanes and large burs for the detailed shaping.




















After much sanding I have now finished the horse and its ready for oiling before the saddle goes on.  I have purchased the saddle and accessories from the rocking horse shop at a cost of £54.95 (Nov 2006), I am investigating making my own but to be honest I just dont make enough horses to justify it.

Fig 13 shows the set and fig 14 shows the bit you get for the mane, forlock and tail.











Now its time to move on to making the rocker section.  Cut out the the bow sections see fig 15 and then with a scarf joint join them see fig 16






Fig 17 and 18

This shows the Bows glued up and mahogany slats

fig 18 shows the detail of the ends




Fig 19 Shows the marked eye ready to drill out for the glass eye


Fig 20 Shows the complete horse ready for the 6 oil coats.




Fig 21,22,23

Here you can see the finished surface and then the saddle goes on

Note the groove cut out at the back of the neckto receive the mane


Fig 24 Shows the bridle now attached


Fig 25 Shows the mane and forlock











Fig 26