How do I Build an Ergonomic Rocking Chair?

Written by natasha parks
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How do I Build an Ergonomic Rocking Chair?
Build an ergonomic rocking chair for a comfortable seat that will support your back's delicate lumbar region. (rocking chair image by Photoeyes from

Build an ergonomic rocking chair for a comfortable seat that will support your back's delicate lumbar region. In the same way that a spring counterbalances a dropped weight, the chair back must adequately counter the forces it receives from the person sitting in the chair.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Measuring tape
  • Walnut wood
  • Lathe
  • Drill
  • Pegs
  • Rubber mallet
  • Oak back-slats
  • Wood screws
  • Screwdriver
  • Wood glue
  • Birch plywood
  • Wood knife
  • Sandpaper
  • Varnish
  • Upholstery webbing
  • Latex/foam seat pad
  • Seat fabric
  • Scissors
  • Inner cushions
  • Sewing machine
  • Staple gun
  • Spray adhesive
  • Cotton batting

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  1. 1

    Order milled wood in your chosen colour, such as walnut, for the basic structure. You will need 2 front posts, 2 back posts, 1 front horizontal, 3 back horizontals, 2 side horizontals, 2 arms and 1 curved rocker. Order thin, shaped wood slats for the back and seat. Curly oak works well. Create a "floating back" design from the slats by securing them taut but flexible so they provide essential lumbar support.

  2. 2

    Use a lathe to bevel the top and bottom edges of the posts to prevent splintering. Fit the pieces together by drilling holes to fit small wooden pegs. Tap into place gently with a rubber mallet. Ensure the seat depth supports almost the full length of the thigh without being so deep it cuts into the backs of the knees. Ensure the height allows the sitter to plant their feet firmly on the floor when the rocking chair is at rest. Fit the slats with an equal distribution using wood screws or wood glue and a screwdriver or mallet.

  3. 3

    Use birch plywood for the seat base. Cut a hole using a wood knife to prevent damage to the bones in the sitter's bottom (the ischia). Weave a supportive webbing from upholstery webbing to fit over the hole. Put a latex/foam seat pad over the webbing to form a seating substrate for the final layer. Smooth the edges using fine sandpaper. Varnish with two coats of quality wood varnish if for outdoor use.

  4. 4

    Upholster the seat for extra comfort. Choose your fabric and cut to size. Use a plywood template if it helps. Measure the chair seat and back. Draw the design on the plywood. Cut the required fabric using scissors. Fit the fabric around an inner cushion for the seat and another for the back. Pull tight to reduce lumps. Sew or staple into place using a sewing machine or staple gun. Apply spray adhesive to the surface of the chair. Press the seat and back into place. Install wood screws using a drill to finish the upholstering. Use cotton batting for extra protection and style.

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