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Rocking Horse - 6 years from planning to reality

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kinsella

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Colleagues
Thought i'd share this with you, I normally only make furniture. But when i asked my two daughters what they would like daddy to make, one said a rocking chair and the other a rocking horse. She was 6 when i first bought the wood 2005. I started construction in March 07 and finished the woodwork in Jan 08 (10 months of only odd weekends) but only just finished the hair and leather work this Christmas 2011. She's 13 now!!!!. But luckily, i went and made another daughter to use it. She's 3.
Happy to share my self drawn AutoCAD drawings of construction (just PM me) and work in progress photos to anyone who's looking to built one. I then used one book to built it from. A lot of trial and error. Loads of blood, sweat and tears.

PS. i read somewhere that its tradition for rocking horses makers to write a message and put it in the hollow body. I told my daughter this and she wrote one message, i wrote another. I was in tears writing it. I glued up to top layer of the body and clamped it all up. Proud as punch ! My wife comes down to see this milestone moment and says "Why did you glue its head to its buttocks end?" after a frantic moment and panic as i searched for lump hammer, wedges etc, i managed to get the top off and clean and reglue. See finished photos. I still havent worked out how to give him a haircut.

Its moments like these that make this hobby all worthwhile!!!
 

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marcros

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Wow. Could you post the WIP pictures. I am sure that many people would love to see them.
 

kinsella

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Glad your interested. The wood is american oak. I love working with Oak. I managed to salvage a load of old English Oak and made quite a few pieces of furniture with it, so Oak was my obvious choise. I always intended to leave it clear to celebrate the wood rather than the painted options. Its very heavy. I tested it by me and my then two daughters sitting on it. I'm not a little fellow. Its very study and i have a vision of it lasting through my family for years and generations to come.
 

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Kalimna

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Beautiful piece of work there, I'm sure your daughter(s) will love it to bits. Does it have a name yet?
Could you give a breakdown of any particular problem areas, as I have the Rocking Horse Shop plans, but have yet to make a start. How did you go about carving the head? Was the stand your own design also? What finish did you use?

Cheers,
Adam
 

Benchwayze

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Very nice finished project.
I have everything to make Anthony Dew's Medium sized horse.
However:

Daughter didn't want one. So I kept everything just in case.
Now Grand daughter doesn't want one either. Prefers her Black-'bury' (Her head is almost always buried in the thing!) :?

So I might carve the horse's head one day, and put it on a base as an ornament.

John :)
 

Lowlife

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That's very nice!

I've been thinking of doing one for my grandchildren, who are probably a bit young at the moment at 18 months, but if it takes 6 years to make maybe I should start now?

I'd be very interested to see your drawings, although I've collected a file of photos and drawings that I've found online yours does look nicer than most of them.
 

kinsella

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Adam
Could you give a breakdown of any particular problem areas? I dowelled the two head parts together, i was on a budget so i used two separate parts, all the books etc. said use solid piece. I now know why. I exposed one part of the dowel, but as i used oak for the dowel it wasn’t a total disaster and its right under the head. The grain on the ears is exactly the wrong way, it perfectly parallel to the floor, my children hold onto them and one snapped. So i snapped off the other and dowelled both in place to stop it happening again. The join is perfect.

as I have the Rocking Horse Shop plans, but have yet to make a start. : It ws fear that delayed me. Dive in head first; it was surprisingly natural when i just went for it.

How did you go about carving the head? Started out gingerly, went out looking for real horses to understand the anatomy. But as i was getting nowhere, i then just went for it. i took loads off in the end. When i thought i was done, i was not even close.
Using hand tools i couldn’t believe how much was to come off and ended up buying the cutter for the angle grinder. That took loads off but required some delicate manoeuvring.


Was the stand your own design also? The principle is the same in a lot of horses but the turning was all my own design and shape.

What finish did you use? i used cellulose lacquer. I like this finish as its quick. No idea how many layers i put on, maybe 10 or more. You do need a full face mask or you'll smile a lot.
 

marcros

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kinsella":13v88cvr said:
The best book i found was "Designing & Marking Rocking Horses" Margaret Spenscer.
Thank you. Were you new to carving, or done it before? i would love to make one for my daughter. she is 7 months old, so i figure i have a couple of years to get it done. Was the plan in the book, or did you buy that separately?
 

Benchwayze

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marcros":2zt7q327 said:
kinsella":2zt7q327 said:
The best book i found was "Designing & Marking Rocking Horses" Margaret Spenscer.
Thank you. Were you new to carving, or done it before? i would love to make one for my daughter. she is 7 months old, so i figure i have a couple of years to get it done. Was the plan in the book, or did you buy that separately?
Marcos,

If you can't get hold of any lime wood, or bass wood, you might find that Jelutong is a good alternative. Very even grained and soft enough to carve easily.
You can find resin pockets in it, but if you are planning on painting the horse on finishing, you can dig out the resin, and inlay fresh pieces of wood. There's no problem boring out the knots in pine either. Just fill them in with dowels or inlays. As long as you apply a proper undercoat of gesso, you will never see them.
best of luck.

John
 

marcros

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Benchwayze":2ge5c0n0 said:
marcros":2ge5c0n0 said:
kinsella":2ge5c0n0 said:
The best book i found was "Designing & Marking Rocking Horses" Margaret Spenscer.
Thank you. Were you new to carving, or done it before? i would love to make one for my daughter. she is 7 months old, so i figure i have a couple of years to get it done. Was the plan in the book, or did you buy that separately?
Marcos,

If you can't get hold of any lime wood, or bass wood, you might find that Jelutong is a good alternative. Very even grained and soft enough to carve easily.
You an find resin pockets in it, but if you are planning on painting the horse on finishing, you can dig out the resin, and inlay fresh pieces of wood. There's no problem boring out the knots in pine either. Just fill them in with dowels or inlays. As long as you apply a proper undercoat of gesso, you will never see them.
best of luck.

John
I have not heard of Jelutong.
 

Benchwayze

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marcros":1ek8o9qf said:
I have not heard of Jelutong.[/quote]

Marcos...

I believe it comes from Malaya (is stocked by George Sykes, in the Midlands.) I would imagine there's someone near you in Leeds though. If you decide you want to use a good carving wood for the head, and you can't get the usual species. let me know. I have enough to make a rocking-horse's head.

http://www.woodbin.com/ref/wood/jelutong.htm

John :)
 

marcros

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Thank you John. My outlaws are in Brownhills, so a detour to Sykes could be a welcome break.

I have a bench to build first, complete with controversial aprons! In the meantime, I will have a think about whether the nag is to be painted or stained, and whether I have the skill to produce something that would be sent to make glue. Then there is the decision about rocking horse/rocking zebra.

I might try and get a small section of lime or Jelutong and try my hand at a bit of carving. See whether by taking it slowly and carefully I show any spark of achieving anything. There was a good video on Rough cut workshop where he carved a ball and claw foot, the foot of which wouldnt waste much timber if it went disastrously!
 

Benchwayze

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:) Marcos,
No problem then. Straight down the A5 from Brownhills!

I should give Sykes a call first though to discuss what you want and how much it will cost. They do like to know when you are coming, if visiting the yard.

regards
John
 

kinsella

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Never carved in my life before. Not as difficult as it seems once you get started, book and even kids detailed toy horse was a help.
Yes, it definately was a labour of love, but more importantly it was fun to build.
I've been designing and building my own furniture for too long. It stopped being fun 3 years ago, stupidly i was trying to get everything too perfect. So i stopped. Finally started again.
 

Woody Alan

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Hi

Just to add what a lovely job you've made of your horse. I too would like to encourage people to have a go you'll be surprised what you can do. I have absolutetly no artistic talent whatsoever (trust me I'm not just saying that) and I still managed to produce these. I was so scared I built the small one first to see if I could do it. I bought Margaret Spencers book and the Antony Dew books which both these horses are from. I built it from American poplar a very stable pattern making wood.

Alan



 

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