Giddyap Toy Rocking Horse
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Wood Magazine

Giddyap Toy Rocking Horse

Rocking Horse

Rocking Horse

Clippity-clop, clippity-clop -- that's the sound our galloping horse makes every time you set it a-rocking. Place the maned toy rocker on your child's dresser, or give it to a deserving friend. Either way, you'll ride high in the saddle with the joy you bring.
Note: This project requires 3/8"-, 1/2"-, and 3/4"-thick stock. You can either resaw or plane thicker stock to the correct thickness.

As a convenience to allow you to view this free woodworking plan before downloading it, we now offer a page-by-page review. If you like the plan, you'll find a Click here for a free downloadable plan link on the last page of the plan. The downloadable plan will have larger, easier to view illustrations than the online preview.

Need help downloading plans? For step-by-step instructions, use the link below.


Start with the Rockers

Start with the Rockers

Make the rockers first
  1. Cut the full-size rocker pattern (A) shown on Drawing 5 on page 7 of the free downloadable plan, on the last page at the end of the plan, to shape leaving about a 1/2" paper margin outside the line.
  2. To form the rockers (A), rip and crosscut two pieces of 1/2"-thick wood to 4x12". (We used maple.) Stick the two pieces together with double-faced tape. Now, spray adhesive to the back side of your paper rocker pattern and adhere it to the top piece. With an awl, mark the centerpoints for the four holes to be drilled.
  3. Using a bandsaw, cut the rockers to shape. (We cut just outside the line and sanded to the line.) Remove the paper pattern and sand the bottom of the rockers on a disc sander as shown in Drawing 1, shown right. Sand carefully to maintain a smooth arc on the rockers. Mount a 1"-diameter drum sander on the drill press, and sand along the top edges of the rockers. Hand-sand the sides and places a drum sander can't reach.
  4. Chuck a 3/8" bit in your drill press, and drill the two end holes. Back the bottom piece with scrap to prevent chip-out. Separate the two rockers and remove the tape.


Start with the Rockers

Start with the Rockers

5 To make the rocker spacer (B) shown on Drawing 2, rip a 3/4"-thick piece of maple to 1 1/16" wide; then, crosscut it to 3 1/8" long. Draw diagonals across one end, mark the centerpoint, and drill a 3/8" hole 3/4" deep.

6 From 3/8" dowel stock, cut four 1 3/4"-long pieces and set two aside for use later. Lay one rocker on its side, and apply glue to the inside surface of the two holes. Apply glue to one end of each dowel, and insert them into the two holes, flush with the back side. Place a 3/4" round wooden bead (the type used for macrame and available at crafts supply stores) over the dowels.

7 Apply glue to one face of the spacer block (B) and position it on the rocker where indicated by the dashed line. Make certain the end with the hole is at the top of the rocker. Now, apply glue to the other face of the spacer block, the free ends of the dowels, and the inside surface of the two end holes in the other rocker. Place the second rocker over the dowels, and press it down until it's snug against the spacer block and beads. Test the alignment by rocking it a few times. Adjust and clamp the assembly.

8 Remove the clamps after the glue dries. Then, drill the two previously marked 3/8" holes through the rockers and spacer block. Slightly bevel one end of each of the two remaining 3/8" dowels. Apply glue to the dowels and holes, and tap the dowels through the rockers and the spacer block. Now, sand all dowel ends flush.


Form the Body

Form the Body

Let's make the horse

1. Using spray adhesive adhere the full-size Body Pattern to a 3/4x5x8" piece of maple. Mark the centerpoints for all drilling locations. If you intend to finish your horse with the yarn mane, mark the location for those holes at this time too.
Note: Eliminate the horse's ears if you intend to put a mane on it.

2. Using a bandsaw or scrollsaw, cut the horse body (C) to shape. (Again, we cut just outside the marked line, and later finish-sanded to the line.)

3. Adhere the three full-size patterns for the legs (D, E, and F) to 3/8"-thick maple. You may have to sand or plane thicker stock to this thickness. Now cut the legs to shape. (To save time on the rear legs, we stacked two pieces of maple together using double-faced tape, glued the pattern to the top, and cut both out at the same time.)

4. Place the horse's body in a handscrew clamp as shown in Drawing 3, above right, and drill a 3/8" hole 3/4" deep in the underside for the support dowel. (We first aligned the center point of the hole with the drill bit, tightened the clamp, and clamped the entire setup to the drill press table to keep it from moving. We then bored the hole.) Remove the body from the clamp, change bits, and drill the two 7/32" holes in the body for the toy axle pegs, backing the piece with scrap to prevent chip-out. Change bits again, and drill the 9/32" holes in the leg pieces, backing each piece.

5. Sand the body and leg parts smooth. (We used a 1/2" drum sander on a drill press to sand the cut surfaces.) Then, sand a slight round-over on all sharp edges.

6. To drill the holes for the mane, chuck a 5/16" bit in a drill press. Place the horse body in a handscrew clamp, as shown in Drawing 4, below right, adjust the body to align each hole with the drill bit, and drill each 3/8" deep.


Add the Finish

Add the Finish

Finishing the horse
  1. Cut a 3/8" dowel 3 3/8" long. Apply glue to the hole in the underside of the horse body and insert the dowel. Apply glue to the hole in the spacer block on the rocker, and insert the other end of the dowel in it.
  2. Finish-sand the horse and rockers. Apply the finish of your choice. (We applied a medium brown stain to all parts except the spacer beads -- they were stained with a dark walnut for contrast. Then we applied two coats of polyurethane. The dowels and axle pegs appear darker in color because of the end grain.)
  3. Cut the shafts of four 7/32 x 1 1/8" toy axle pegs (sometimes sold as 1/8" pegs) to 3/4" long. Use them to mount the legs to the body after you've finished it. Insert the axle pegs through the leg holes, apply glue to the ends of the pegs, and insert the ends into the holes in the horse's body. Allow some play so the legs swing easily.
  4. To make the mane for the horse, wrap wool yarn around a 3x5" card 12 times. Slide the yarn off the card and tie it in a bundle near the middle with a short piece of yarn. Then, tie another short length of yarn around the bundle about 1/4" away from the first tie. With scissors, cut the yarn between the two ties to make two plugs. (You'll need a plug for each hole.) Now, cut through the loops so you have 24 pieces of yarn tied on one end. Apply a small amount of glue into each 5/16" hole. Using a 1/4" dowel, push the knotted end of a yarn into each hole. After the glue dries, clip the mane to the desired shape.



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