The Best Hand Made Rocking Chair Runners Bring You Hours of Relaxing Motion.
Hand made rocking chair runners require the right design and construction in order to bring you the greatest benefit.
It's easy to think of the lowly rocking chair runner as simply a bent piece of wood that allows you to rock back and forth. The truth is that this part plays a major role in making the whole custom rocking chair experience work.
Without runners, all you have is a chair. With poorly shaped or sized runners, your rocking experience will be pretty bad. Here are several things I think about when making the best runners.
- First, the size of arc needed for the best motion. All runners are curved to provide the rocking motion. The radius of curvature (arc) in the runner determines how "flat" or "rolling" the rocking chair motion is. A very long radius of curvature creates a flat runner. This causes the rocker to move back and forth quickly.A runner designed with a shorter radius of curvature has a much deeper arc. This causes the rocking motion to be slow and rolling. Most folks find the benefit of a slow, full rocking motion to be very satisfying in their hand made rocking chair.
- Second, to laminate or not to laminate, that is the question!
- The hand made rocking chair runner is subjected to tremendous stresses during its lifetime. It must resist being "flattened" and worn down from constant use.Traditionally, single pieces of stiff, highly rub-resistant wood (such as oak or maple) were used. While this is still an option, I have found that most people like the laminated look. Gluing (laminating) together several long pieces of wood in a curved form (as show above) makes the arc stiffer and adds to the overall beauty of the runner. Laminating also allows for the use of contrasting wood strips within the runner itself.
- Third, the length of the runners and the shape of their back ends A large part of the gracefulness of the custom rocking chair resides in the length and style of the runners. Long runners add a gentle, flowing motion to the chair, while short ones make the chair move quickly and look compact.
- Another important aspect of the runner is the recurve, or lack thereof, at the back tip. As you can see in the photo at right, the last few inches of the runner have a recurved end that points down slightly. One benefit of this feature is that it prevents you from tipping over backwards! It works very simply. When you lean back in the hand made rocking chair, the runner tips eventually touch the floor. After a couple of rocks, you will instinctively remember where that tilt-back limit is located. Knowing the limit really helps you enjoy the full rocking motion without feeling worried about tipping over backwards.
- Finally, the chair balance on the runners is very important to comfortable rocking. Beautifully shaped and built runners are really limited in what they can provide for you if the chair is set too far forward or backward on the runners. A good craftsman will be very sensitive to the overall balance of the chair. If the chair weight is too far forward on the runners, it can easily toss you out of the seat when rocked. If the weight balance is shifted too far back on the runners, the chair will engage the safety recurve feature too soon and cause an abrupt stop in the rocking motion. Neither one of these situations is acceptable.
As you can see, there is a lot of thought that goes into designing and building the best runners for your hand made rocking chair. If you are interested in learning more about how I can help determine the best rocking chair for you, click here for the Fitting Process.
If you are interested in purchasing a pair of runners for an existing rocker, click on this runners for sale link and I'll guide you through the selection and ordering process.
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