Improved Mid-Century Modern rocking chair


1 Like

I’ve thought about making a chair like this, but using dowels instead of rope - I think thin enough dowels would still have a little flex, so it would still be comfortable and it would make for a cleaner design in my opinion. Also, the dowels could be painted to add a little more color. I’m inspired - I think I’m going to try it!

I’d be worried about the dowels snapping. Unlike rope, dowels of the same thickness don’t have a lot of transverse strength – you could stand on a one-rope-bridge, but not a one-dowel-bridge.

But if they were close enough together that they always shared the load, it could definitely work. Keep us updated!

1 Like

I recommend against using dowels. The failure mode is extremely bad. Always plan for failure, everything fails in time.

Dowels will weaken with age and use. And once one dowel snaps, you could easily get a domino effect where the increased load on the remaining dowels snaps many more. If all the dowels are the same age and provenance, this is not unlikely.

Imagine yourself trapped in a basket of very sharp sticks, all pointing towards you. You’d need to push the chair off over your head to get out without impaling yourself, and that might be very difficult depending on how many dowels actually snapped and the positions that your arms and legs ended up in.

The failure mode for rope is much better, just a couple of nasty rope burns at worst.

ON a tangentially related topic, I recommend safety glasses for kids using sabre saws. Snapped off blades usually stick in the wood, but not always - sometimes you get two breaks at once, and a piece flies back at the operator. A punctured eyeball usually heals, but maybe not, if it gets seared by hot metal…

1 Like

That is a very good point.

a mid-century rocking chair?!??


You could always replace the dowels with thin metal rods. They would retain the flex, and be a lot sturdier. And you could paint them. Use a Hammerite paint for metal.
Your nice floor looks like it could get pretty scratched up by that chair. Possibly glue some felt strips to the underside of the rockers, that’ll help quieten the rock too.


Yeah, that’s a good idea, the failure mode of most metals is much more elegant… stretching and bending. You’d want to use something very springy, though, because commonplace aluminum or mild steel rod might collect unsightly dents pretty quickly, like for instance if you put your hand down next to you and pushed yourself up from the chair, putting all your weight on a subset of rods.

Second the recommendation for felt strips. Rubber works too but it doesn’t cope as well as felt does with bits of sand or other hard material picked up from the floor.

This topic was automatically closed after 5 days. New replies are no longer allowed.