Tom, one of our Eagle America woodworkers writes:
Finally I have found some time to get back into the basement to finish Adam’s rocker. In the last blog about this rocker I promised to show how I joined the cross pieces to the back support and the seat. Compared to the rest of the construction this was very simple.
A note here…the location and drilling of these holes for the back assembly was done BEFORE gluing the rockers to the cross supports. I show the bottom back support cross member in the last blog in its final drilled state. It would be very difficult to drill the holes if the rockers were glued to the cross supports.
I used dowel centers to locate the holes and ½” dowels to hold the parts together. I laid out the positions of the holes for the dowels in the 5 seat back slats and seat supports and drilled them. Although I tried to get them “properly” located, I did not obsess on getting the position exactly right. The important thing here is to get the mating hole correctly positioned in the cross braces and seat pieces. This was easy with the dowel centers. I clamped up the seat back slats using spacers to make sure the spacing was correct and then carefully pressed the cross braces on the center points of the dowel centers.
This required a little finesse, but with the use of a small combination square to check to make sure the cross pieces were square and even with the outside boards, it worked out. I chamfered the top edge of the holes to make the back and seat easier to assemble.
I cut 1” long dowels and glued them into the holes on the back slats.
One very important point, I did this on a drill press with a forstner bit. I would recommend this and would discourage trying to drill these kinds of mating holes by hand. There is too much room for error doing it by hand.
Assembly was easy. I started on the back by dry fitting all five vertical pieces to cross members, including the lowest cross member that is or will be glued to the rockers. (I glued that after drilling and before back assembly, but it could be done the other way, I think.) I rolled the back to a nearly horizontal position using clamps to hold the dry fit assembly together. I then removed two adjacent back slats from the assembly, applied glue one and reassembled that slat back to the assembly putting clamps in the missing slat position. I started with the middle slat and worked my way out using the same procedure for the other 4 slats.
The seat slats were done with their side supports in position on the rocker. Again marking the position with the dowel centers took a little finesse but turned out well. Gluing the seat slats to the supports was done with everything mounted on the rockers.
I apologize for no pictures on this part of the description. I got so excited that I was going to get this out of my shop, I forgot!!!