"Amish" Rocker

I have been working on this idea of a rocking chair article for a while now. I had a few pieces that I specifically wanted photographed for this article and some that I got from high-end rocking chair makers web sites. There is just something about a rocking chair. It calls for you to come and sit, though when you do, you immediately find whether its really living up to its reputation or not.

My friends custom rocker.

Some rockers, when sat in, lean gently back in a restful position while others keep you in a forward slanted position as if your going to slip right off the seat. I don’t know if there is a specific purpose for that,  if its just poor craftsmanship, or just a different taste in comfort.

As for me when I sit in  a rocking chair, I look for a nice wide seat scooped out or formed to fit the gluteous maximus. Then, when seated, I slightly lean back and see where the chair takes me. I am pleased if it rocks back just enough in that restful position.

Another consideration is the depth of the seat. By depth I mean the distance of the seat from front to back. This will vary for different sized people. I like

the edge of the seat to come as close to the bend in my knee as possible, then gently roll down at the edge so as to not create a sharp edge.

I also really appreciate a back that is contoured and shaped to your back. So many are made on a straight flat plane. This is not how your back is shaped and therefore your spine uncomfortably rolls on the hard wood.

Aside from comfort, there is preferred style. Some like refined, some like rustic, some like unique. I like a sort of mixture. I like refined with some rustic characteristics and unique wood. I have two “Amish” rocking chairs in my home because I couldn’t beat the price of the ones I found and because I like the rustic nature.

My friends tiger maple ladder back with ebony accents.

I also like my friends rocking chair and the other one I have pictured from Hal Taylor because if its refined but simple appearance and the use of tiger maple wood. My friends chair and the ones from Hal Taylor all are inspired by the late Sam Maloof who was a well known designer of rocking chairs. His design is usually evident in most high end rockers. The ladder back and woven seat of my friends chair indicate a Quaker style mounted to the tell-tale Maloof -like extended “snowshoe” style rockers.

The Amish rockers are comfortable due to a wide contoured seat and a contoured back but after about 45 minutes your legs seem to loose circulation from the sharp edge

"Amish" rocker

where your legs bend at the knees. I wished they had rolled it away instead of dropstraight down. They also seem to not fit the exact shape of my back. The bent lumbar area seems a tad too high. On a good note they are pleasing to look at and rest at a comfortable angle. Overall, to me, they are a good chair.

Another type of chair that I have come across in my other friends collection is one of twig or stick style. This one is made from branches that are chosen because of their shape. He walks through his woods

"Twig" or "stick" rocker.

looking for the right shaped branches to make the picture he has in his head. Then adds a plank, or a slice of a stump, maybe some buckskin and cushioning. A good mind for architecture, appreciation for the natural use of wood as it is in branch form, and the ability to put those things together in the shop makes for fine craftsmanship.

Well, I hope you enjoyed this little tidbit on rocking chairs and maybe next time before you plop down in one, you’ll take a little time to notice the craftsmanship, or lack there of.

Figured bigleaf maple rocker from http://www.rockingchairuniversity.com