Reconstructing a NW Chair Co. Rocker

Reconstructing a NW Chair Co. Rocker

A reader stated interest in making a SketchUp model of a very comfortable family rocker. (The original rocker was made in the early 1900’s by the Northwest Chair Co in Tacoma, WA.) The reader assembled a SketchUp file, but ran into difficulty with all the component angles and how to fit them into a 3D space.

Here is a picture of the Chair Assembly:

This is not an easy project for a beginning SketchUp user, so I would like to show ways of breaking this down into a do-able job.

It is very helpful if there are good photos of the furniture piece, ones that are taken perpendicular to the major structural faces of the object. In projects like this it would be good to have photos including:

1. A side view picture perpendicular to outer side face of the Side Rail and Rocker
2. A front view perpendicular to the front face of the Front Legs
3. A picture perpendicular to the front face of the middle Back Slat
4. A top view perpendicular to the top face of the Arms.

Nevertheless, I was able to use pictures of rough sketches that the reader provided.

After importing the rough sketches, I straightened them to align with the Axes, and scaled to full size.


I began to outline the shapes of all the major components, legs, rails, arms, and back slats.

Next I gave these roughed-out shapes thickness and turned them into 3D Groups, then arranged them to Intersect the different views.




In working-up this model, I became interested in how I would show the joinery of these shapes that connect at compound angles. What kind of views and information will be needed in the shop to cut these components for successful connections at the joints?

Taking the Front Leg as an example, I decided to create short temporary Extensions to the ends of Leg Blanks that provide easy and accurate measurements to effect the compound angle cuts. The temporary extensions are such that the Leg Blanks are cut long and square at the ends. In the shop, I then can get accurate marking for the compound angle cut.

This post has been republished from