My wife and I saw and sat on some gliders on vacation this past Fall. I decided to make one for us. I found a free pattern.
I drew up this love seat glider in Google 3D sketchup so I would better understand how it was designed......plus get more practice using Sketchup.
I purchased the wood from Lowes and was pleasantly surprised it totalled only $56. I guess with no construction going on, suppy exceeds demand right now. Here is the wood it takes to make this glider in my 99 F150 truck:
I did some research on the Internet before I starting building this glider to figure out where to buy the bearing set. I ended up buying the bearing set from Workshop Supply for $32.50 including shipping.
I started to make the base assembly. I cut the pieces and started to assemble when I found I had made a mistake. I set up a temporary fixture on my radial arm saw to cut the lap joints. On the 4 uprights, I assumedthe lap was 3.5 inches on top and bottom. This was a wrong assumption, because lap is 3.5" on top, but only 3.0" inches on bottom.....because 1/2" is sawn out as relief on the bottom base piece. I had to remake the 4 upright pieces.
Assembly of the glider went well until I completed rough installing 1 side of the back seat slats. They did not come out at the centerline as they should have. I assumed the 1x4" I used for the back slats were 3.5" wide, another bad assumption. They are really 3-3/8" wide, not 3-1/2" wide. If I did nothing, I would have a 1" gap between the 2 sides of the back seat versus the desired 1/2". I recalculated the spacing using 3.375" wide boards and ended up with 5/8" spacing. This spacing worked ok, and I used it on the horizontal seat spacing also.
Boy, plans were working great as I built this glider until I got to installing the glider bearings. When I tried to assemble the base to the chair, the base would not fit into the chair space.
My bearing set requires a lot more clearance than the base plans allows for. I had to shorten the long horizontal 2x4's that connect the 2 base ends together by 1 inch. Fortunately, I unscrewed the 2 runners and they broke with hammer blow...in regards to glue breaking. Sawed 1" shorter and screwed back together.
It would be better if the plans said to not build the base piece until the chair was done and bearings installed with the 2 hardwood hangers. One could check the clearance required for the bearings and 2 hangers, then determine how wide to make the base so it would match the bearing set.
I got the glider all assembled, and it proceeded to tip over backwards
I triple-checked my measurements against the plan, and I had not made an error. I went back to the web site, and found a user's group about the glider. Fortunately, another person had the same issue and posted the correction. Web site with correction. I tried the fix and it worked great. The fix is for the rear bearing on the chair to be 2-1/4" from the rear of the chair. Here is a Google sketchup picture showing the correct location for the rear bearing on the chair:
Here is the finished base piece:
Here is the glider chair partially completed. At this stage, I just marked the radius on the chair back to next saw them to their curved end shapes.
Here is the glider chair portion completed:
Here is where I start installing the oak hangers:
Here is the completed glider, ready for prime and paint, after correcting the location of the rear bearings:
Here is an updated Google 3D sketchup drawing of the glider. I forget the support piece under each arm piece, and the upper horizontal support piece on on the chair back....when I first drew it.
Here is the finished glider after it has been primed with stain blocker (to keep the knots from bleeding through) and one coat of latex paint:
The plans estimated 40 hours to build this rocker. I probably ended up taking 40 hours, but I could have saved a lot of time if:
The plans would have suggested building the chair first, then build the base with the base width determined by the "as-built" dimensions with the 2 hangers and the actual bearing set used on the project. This would have prevented some confusion and time on reworking the width of the base.
The plans would have had the correct dimension for locating the rear bearings in the chair.
The plans would have suggested checking the actual width of the 1x4's and adjusting the air gap accordingly. 3.5" wide boards take 1/2" gap and 3-3/8" boards take a 9/16" gap. I did not realize lumber mills were saving money by providing 3-3/8" wide versus 3.5" wide 1x4's!! Using a scrap spacer piece as suggested to set the gaps is a good idea and it helps promote parallel pieces on the back and seat with equal air gaps.
When I got the glider done, I sat on it and it worked fine. I am 5'-9" tall. When I had my wife set on it (she is 5'-4" tall), she complained she did not like the glider because her feet would not touch the ground, and therefore she could not push off the ground to get the glider going. I knew there are standard recommended dimensions for chairs, and I Google searched to find the standard. I then compared the plan seat dimensions to the recommended standard:
The glider design grossly violates the standard recommended seat height since the plan is at 20.5 inches height and the standard is 15 inches. If the glider users are taller than 5'-9", then the 20.5 inch height may be ok. If the glider users are shorter than 5'-9" then the design is probably not acceptable.
I plan to re-design the plans for the glider and get the seat height down to the recommended standard of 15 inches, then build another glider that my wife likes. Maybe a project for the Winter of 2010!