Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Poppa's Rocker

   Through my father I came to inherit a piece of furniture that was used often by my grandfather Andrew Taylor. He came to Canada from Scotland with his wife and 3 children in the 1930's. My father was born in Canada shortly after. When Poppa voiced his displeasure he would utter these words with his heavy Scottish accent....
" Bugerray damn nay" or "Buggerrrs... buggerrrs... buggerrrs" and my personal favorite," Shitey God Damn." When he was displeased with your suggestion he would tell you to go, "Shite up a gum tree". If this was directed to my grandmother (her name was Jessie), she would reply "Same to you Andrew, and don't forget to wipe your arse with the sticky branches". They loved each other dearly, really I'm not kidding. Nothing like listening to the folks from the old country. My cousins and I would roll around on the floor laughing after exchanges such as those.

   My grandparents lived in a second story apartment with a long set of stairs that came to ground level. Not a very good setup for this elderly pair. On nice days Poppa would sit upon a wooden rocking chair in the backyard at an inside corner of the building where there was a concrete patio, drinking a pint or two.

Not a tight joint in this chair anywhere but it could still hold you up.

    In order to save time, and his wind, Poppa would yell up to grandmother, " Woman... get me a beerrrr. " If she did not answer at first he would try again, " Woman..... I want a beerrrr. " Sometimes it would require a little more tact, in a velvety voice he would say, " Madame......" speaking in french in an attempt to sound more loving. "What would you like Andrew", my grandmother would say. " I would like a bloooddy beerrr...".

    Gramma didn't want to walk up and down those blasted stairs either so she had rigged up a metal bucket on a rope that she slung over the clothesline that was outside an upstairs window in the porch directly above the patio at which the old man was sitting.

   You would hear a clunk as she put the beer bottle into the bucket. Then the bucket would start it's slow decent to the patio and land right next to my grandfather seated in that rocking chair. He would lean over and reach into the pail while letting out a little sigh and pull out the full bottle and place his empty bottle into the bucket (two or more if he had company) and then grandmother would hoist the empties back up to the porch.

  Yes folks, things have certainly changed. Things were different back then. I miss Gramma and Poppa.

   Building the new rocker had me thinking of times gone by and I suddenly realized that Poppa had passed away in late October many, many years ago. This time last year we lost my father in law and my brother in law's father. They were both grandfathers too. Seems fitting that I am working on this project now. I guess we'll see if this chair can last the test of time as a new heirloom to be used by Poppas yet to be.

  I am making the new rocker with some hickory that I had. It should be nice and strong. The original collapsed on me late one night in July while enjoying a few beverages in the shop with a friend. If memory serves I leaned back, heard a crack, the rocker tilted sideways and finished by laying me out on my back.
  I did get some pictures of it before it was destroyed.

Many years in the weather. Screws broke right through.

I saved this from the fire pile at least a dozen times.
This is the new one. I used the old chair parts as templates.
Always pays to dry fit your joints as you go along.
Full size drawing are a must for this angled joinery.
  I steam bent the curved parts for the backrest. The hickory is very course when you expose face grain. Cutting a curved piece on the band saw from a large piece would leave a hairy mess that cannot be sanded flat. Also it was fun using my steam box to cook the wood.
Got your back ready to assemble.

Glue up went smooth and things are square and true.
  Well that is all for today. I will have an update soon once I get the rockers laminated and the armrests and seat slats installed.
thanks for looking


  1. I really enjoyed reading this :)

  2. I'm glad, man we used to have so many laughs watching our grandparents.