Rocking Dino – Rocker Layout Part 1

Now that the rockers are in their final shape it was time to get them attached to the dinosaur body. Last night after my son went to bed I managed to sneak in an hour of shop time. If you have read my previous posts you may remember that I am building two copies of the rocking dinosaur, one for my son and on for a friend’s son. The one going to the friend has become my practice/prototype piece so this is where I started.


First I laid out the rockers between two bar clamps with spacers, one of these spacers will eventually be connecting the tail to the rockers so it is important that the parts are square (taken care of on the shooting board). Next I checked to make sure the ends of the rockers are lined up using my combination square; a few taps with the bench mallet sorted things out.


Next I identified the center point of the nearest rocker and transferred the line across to the second rocker; this line tells us there the dino’s feet should meet the rocker.


Next I used the original pattern which I copied from the book using grid lines to mark where the center of the rocker should meet the foot.

IMG_0229 IMG_0228

From there it was a simple matter of marking the front and back edges of the foot and the center line for each rocker. I also marked the center line for each of the dino’s feet an identified where I wanted the screw to go to minimize the chance of splitting.


The newer of my Millers Falls #2 drills made short work the screw holes; the challenge was making sure the drill was perpendicular to the tangent of the curve. I accomplished this (I hope) by using my small tri-square as a sight line. This worked surprisingly well, however I did a poor job starting the holes on the center line and for the next one I will use a center punch to mark the drill holes.


After cutting a small relief on the top side (as discussed in my previous blog post on the subject) I flipped the rockers over and placed a countersink bit in my older Millers Falls #2 drill (which has a beefier chuck but is in need of some adjusting) and proceeded to countersink the holes so that there will be little chance of the screw heads damaging floors even after additional sanding and any compression which might occur from use.


After all of that, a test fit showed that my spacers are a bit too wide and will need to be shaved down on the shooting board. Unfortunately I was a bit too tired for a task needing that level of finesse so I called it a night.


Now that I have completed the process, there are some things which I will do differently for the second;

  • I would layout the dimensions on one of the rockers first, starting with the center line, by laying the rocker on its side using layout marks drawn on the bench-top.
  • I would transfer the lines to the second rockers by clamping them two each other rather than with the spacers in between. I think this will make the entire process easier.
  • Start the screw holes using a center punch to ensure correct placement.

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