PROJECTS: ROK-BAK CHAIR
7. OPTIONAL: CONVERT TO ROK-BAK VERSION
To allow the chair to rock back, the bottoms of the sides must be cut into shallow Vs. The tipping point
of the V is critical. Your Rok-Bak chair must:
» be completely stable when rocked backward; do not exceed the 5½" rocker dimension on the drawing.
» stop, with a small thump, in the reclined position.
» not lean prematurely; it should require a light push with your feet, but not be difficult to rock backward.
7a. Temporarily disassemble the chair so that you can make identical, accurate cuts (preferably with a
circular saw) on the bottom of each side. Make it a shallow V, and if you’re about the same height and
weight as me (see Step 3d), you can make the bottom cuts as dimensioned here.
7b. If you’re of a different build, you should make a few trial cuts and reassemblies, taking longer and
longer cuts until you arrive at the right balance. IMPORTANT: You must not exceed the 5½" rocker
dimension for safety and stability! After each pair of cuts, reassemble the chair — with cushions, headrest,
and arms — and try it. You’ll get pretty good at loosening and tightening lag bolts. (Use a 8" hex driver
in your drill to speed things up.)
NOTE: All is not lost if you cut too much off; you can always take a little off the front legs of the Vs to make them longer.
7c. Once you get the tipping point right, you can finally make the bottom cutouts in the sides. This will cause
the chair to be slightly more stable in the forward position, which may turn out to be a good thing.
Draw the cutouts (on the C side, remember?) of both chair sides, using the 15oz can as a radius guide.
For strength, it’s important to keep the bottom of the cutouts at least 2¾" from the bottom edge of the
chair. Carefully make the cutouts with a jigsaw.
8. FINISH THE WOOD AND PAD THE ARMS
8a. Remove the cushions, headrest, seat, and back. You don’t
have to disassemble the chair. Sand all exposed surfaces down
to about 120-grit paper, then spray (or brush, if you must) with
varnish or clear polyurethane, such as Deft. Several coats, lightly
sanded between each, usually yield a nice finish.
8b. Finally, to pad the arms, cut ¾"-thick foam to the size of the
arms (you can also use 1", or you can rip 1½" in half with a band
saw), and lightly mount it with spray adhesive or double-sided
mounting tape. Cover the arms with fabric that matches the
footrest and headrest. Trim the underside neatly.
NOW GO USE IT »
98 Make: Volume 19