Web daddytypes.com

October 13, 2005

Dad-To-Be Graduates From Rocking Chair U. With A Month To Spare

rcu-grad-rocker.jpgNew dad (as of Sept., congrats!) Gregg Homstad took the rocking chair thing seriously, very seriously: he handmade a museum-quality rocker himself using the instructions and plans from Rocking Chair University [no kidding]. See, master woodworker and rocking chair guru Hal Taylor runs week- and weekend-long workshops on building the kind of rockers that last 200 years and cost five grand. But Taylor also sells a detailed DIY kit: instructions, templates, free tech support, for $275.

Cuh-razy, you say? Well, read Gregg's account; it sounds like there's more to making a rocking chair than saving enough to buy 4.5 Bugaboos:

During our first pregnancy last year I decided that I wanted to build a Sam Maloof-style rocker for my wife and child.

When both our first and second pregnancies ended in miscarriage the last thing on my mind was making furniture for an uncertain future. When our third pregnancy (very successfully completed this Sept. 3!) was about half complete I finally felt like this was the real deal and I was able to get myself back into the shop to work.

Originally I had wanted to design the chair myself while following the basic lines of a Maloof, but my ham-handed attempts made it rapidly apparent that this was not the time to re-invent the rocking chair.

Through the magic of the Interweb I found Hal Taylor's website which offered plans and instructions on how to build his version of the Maloof rocker. Once I made the first cuts and glue ups and the transformation from board to furniture was underway I felt the rush of good feeling that comes from creating a work that will in all probability long outlive me. Making that commitment to the future was my way of getting past the miscarriages and beginning to bond with the fetus taking shape inside of my wife.

All told I spent approximately 80 hours constructing this chair and had it completed with a month to spare. It has met with rave reviews from my wife and son, and also our friends and relatives, many of whom want me to make chairs for them... which may or may not happen after we relocate to SoDak (which can be found somewhere between Manhattan and Hawaii).

This project is not for the faint of heart or the impatient of soul, but at $4000 (~5.5 Bugaboos?) a ready-made version was not in the cards. My costs, not including a fully-stocked shop, were in the $700 range. Much cheaper and more productive than therapy.

See the finished rocker and a couple of in-process pics in Gregg's album
Sam Maloof at the Smithsonian [si.edu]
Hal Taylor Rocking Chairs and RCU [haltaylor.com]
Previously: The Weeks Rocker, by yet another master craftsman, Gary Weeks
Ralph Rapson Rapid Rocker: crafted, if not master-crafted

posted October 13, 2005 12:15 PM | add to del.icio.us | digg this


awww, that was sweet!

posted by: micaela at October 13, 2005 1:11 PM

seriously, it brought tears to my eyes. successful pregnancy after miscarriage will do it every time. that, and a rocker handcrafted by dad.

posted by: whitney at October 13, 2005 2:52 PM

Henry and I couldn't ask for a better father and husband. The Rocker? Well, it rocks! The pictures don't even do it justice. It's a masterpiece.

posted by: Sarah Homstad at October 14, 2005 9:35 AM
post a comment

remember personal info?