How to Build a Wooden Rocking Horse

Written by jennifer d. melville
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How to Build a Wooden Rocking Horse
Wooden rocking horse (

As a boy, English King Charles I rode on one of the first rocking horses in the 17th century, and they have remained popular children's toys ever since. They were made at home until commercialised and produced in factories in the nineteenth century. While still popular in the modern day United States, traditional wooden rocking horses can be difficult to find. With some wood, tools and creativity, one can build an old-fashioned wooden rocking horse at home.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • 1 sheet of oak plywood, 3/4 inch thickness and standard size
  • Paper
  • Carpenter's pencil
  • Jigsaw
  • Sandpaper
  • 2-by-6 redwood board, 24 inches long or enough for a seat
  • 4-by-4 piece of wood, 3 feet long
  • Wood glue
  • Nails
  • Wood putty
  • Table saw
  • Staple gun
  • Yarn or mop head

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    The Steps

  1. 1

    Draw or print a rocking horse on paper as an example. A web search or a book is a great place to find ideas, which can be printed of scanned. Then, trace the head and various parts onto the plywood using the carpenter's pencil.

  2. 2

    Cut out the pieces using the jigsaw and sand them until they are smooth.

  3. 3

    Cut three 2-by-1-inch strips from plywood with the jigsaw. These are for the braces and the seat from the 2-by-6 redwood. Make a backbone from a 4-by-4, ripping both sides with a table saw.

  4. 4

    Glue and nail the sides of the horse to the backbone. Glue and nail the neck to the front of the backbone.

  5. 5

    Nail three 2-by-18-inch strips to the rocker to reinforce the rocking horse.

  6. 6

    Nail on the seat and fill in holes with wood putty.

  7. 7

    Attach yarn or a mop head for the mane and tail with the staple gun.

Tips and warnings

  • If you wish to stain the horse, do so before assembling the pieces.
  • If you wish to paint the horse, do so after it has been assembled. Allow the paint to fully dry before use.
  • Make sure that the horse is stable and sturdy before allowing a child to play with it.
  • Be sure that all corners have been sanded thoroughly so that a child will not get splinters.
  • Never use paint with lead content.

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