TedsWoodworking Plans and Projects

A Beginner’s Guide To Building A Rocking Horse

?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Almost all toddlers enjoy rocking horses.  The gentle back and forth motion of the toy can bring a child great joy; but it can bring the adult who creates the toy happiness as well.  While some parents choose to purchase these items, there are others who choose to engage in their creative abilities and build this fantastical friend for their youngster.  The task can seem daunting; however, if provided with a tutorial it is rather simple.  This article will act as a guide to the beginner woodworker who is looking to build a charming rocking horse.

The tools

To create a rocking horse you will need the following tools:

– a pencil
– a measuring rule
– a rule
– a pair of scissors
– a straightedge
– a saber saw
– clamps
– a wood file
– a drill
– a countersink
– a screwdriver
– braces and bits
– a compass
– paintbrushes, and
– a hammer

The materials

Now that you have the tools, you will require the following items:

– brown paper
– carpenters glue
– wood filler
– primer and non-toxic paints
– leather strips
– scraps of material
– 1 inch studs
– 3/4 inch grade A plywood
– 2 x 4 pine stock
– 2 x 6 pine stock
– 1 1/2 inch #10 flathead wood screws
– 2 inch #12 flathead wood screws
– 1 inch wood dowel

The procedure

It must be noted that the diagrams at the following URL image links will be utilized as part of the instructions.  They will be referred to as:

Diagram 1 – http://s.hswstatic.com/gif/how-to-make-toys-6.jpg
Diagram 2 – http://s.hswstatic.com/gif/how-to-make-toys-7.jpg
Diagram 3 – http://s.hswstatic.com/gif/how-to-make-toys-8.jpg

Step 1: Cutting the pieces

Using a large sheet of brown paper measuring approximately 48 inches square, draw a 24 x 24-square grid with each individual square measuring 2 inches.  This must be done using a pencil ruler and straightedge.  With diagram 1, showing images of rocking horse pieces, transfer these images on the brown paper and cut them out with scissors.  For the legs and set trace only half of the illustration and then fold the traced piece over cutting it at double-thickness.  This will also ensure that the two halves are symmetrical in addition to doubly thick.

Next, trace the different pieces using paper patterns onto 3/4 inch grade A plywood.  Cut out the head and body pieces, the two leg pieces and the seat using a saber saw.  Check that the head and body pieces are symmetrical by stacking them atop each other – any minor differences can be smoothed out later in the building.  Apply carpenters glue between the head and body pieces and place a clamp or weight on the pieces.  Allow the pieces to dry overnight.

Step 2: Assembly

In order to assemble the rocking horse you will need to cut two 1/4 s 5 inch slots in each leg piece.  This is required in order to fit the legs onto the body.  Using the saber saw cut two 9 inch body braces from the 2 x 4 pine stock and use a wood file to round the longer edges of each brace.  This is illustrated in diagram 2.

Next, align the legs on the head/body tower with a body brace placed between then and the rounded top of the brace should be even to the tops of the legs.  Apply glue liberally to the brace that is against the rocking horse, then drill three holes – two 1 & 1/2 inches from each end of the body brace and one centered between them.  Drive two 2 inch #12 flathead  screws through the brace to secure it.  Repeat on the other side.

Step 3: Making the rockers

In order to make the rockers you will need two 48 inch 2 x 6 pine stock with each end shaped to a curve of a five 1/2 inch diameter so the rockers curve up, as per diagram 3.  Place the rocker against the leg pieces on one side of the horse and apply glue to the braces ends and bottom parts.

Final words

As can be seen, making a rocking horse is not a difficult process if you have a brief tutorial on the matter.


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Ted Leger –


Updated: November 10, 2014 — 1:28 pm
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