This was my first attempt at designing and building a rocking horse. Based on a photo in a magazine that I had kept for many years.
It may sound corny, but I decided to call it Oscar because it was the original. After Oscar was made, I thought he needed a little sister to look after, so I made the drawings for Rosie.
A list of tools that I used to make Oscar rocking horse.
Starting with the hand tools:
I used 12 inch by 1 inch boards.
Making a template for the head using 3mm MDF board. For this prototype, I used the grid method of transferring the pattern.
I could have drawn the pattern directly onto the board, but my intent was to use a pattern cutting bit in a router mounted upside down in my shop made router table. Click on the link to see how I made it.
It's not entirely necessary to do it this way unless you are going to make more than one rocking horse. Using a router also makes a smooth edge to the board.
Drill the hole for the handle. I used a spade bit to match the size of the 19mm dowel.
Moving on to the rockers, which are the longest parts.
One thing I have learned over the years is that when cutting out parts for projects, always start with the biggest part. That way, if I make a mistake, I can always use the bit for a smaller part.
I made just one half of the paper template by marking the line of symmetry and flipping it over to make the other half.
Even if you are not going to use this template with a pattern cutting router bit, I would think it would be a good idea to use it to make a matching pair of rockers.
Now for the body of the rocking horse. Here again, for the prototype, I used the grid method for cutting out the shape for the MDF template.
Making the legs and the wedges that attach to the top of the legs to splay them out.
In the illustration above, the leg is shown blue, and the pair of wedges is shown green, with the red representing the angle of splay.
Next time I make one of these rocking horses, this is what I would do:
For each leg, cut 4 pieces 120mm long by 19mm square. Fix one pair on top of each leg allowing a bit to overhang the top. This will be trimmed off later.
Once the glue has set, trim them to form the wedges as shown in the illustration.
Cut out the parts for the spreader bars.
Cut a groove along the back of the head for the mane.
I used a slot cutting bit in my trusty router.
Cut out the seat and all the parts are cut out and ready for assembly.
A good idea at this stage to use the round over on the edges.
Make the head and body assembly.
Fix the head to one side. The infill pieces made up of scraps is shown in red.
This means once the seat is fixed in place, there is a hollow space. If you want, you could place a marble in here, or make the seat removable and you will have a secret storage space.
Fix the other side and the head/body sub assembly is ready.
The spreader bars are fixed to the rockers to form a frame.
Attach the legs to the body with a single screw so that the legs can swing.
In the photo, I have used a pair of spring clamps and a length of timber to hold the feet in place, and placed placed the assembly onto the rocker platform.
Holding a pencil on a small block, mark the slope of the spreader bars onto the feet. Shown red in the photo.
You may also see the wedge that has been marked in blue.
Using a sliding bevel, record the angle of the leg to the spreader bar.
Number each leg according to its position so that you can replace it in the same place.
Remove the legs and trim the ends to the angle recorded with the sliding bevel.
In this step, I would make a dry assembly to be sure that everything fits properly, and trim accordingly. Once you are happy that everything fits, apply the glue and fix the legs back in place according to the marks you have made in the previous step.
I put three screws into the top of each leg, if you refer back to the drawings.
Final assembly. This is where I have to attach the legs to the rocker sub assembly.
It has been suggested that I could use J-bolts, hooking the leg from underneath the spreader bar. That does sound like a good idea, maybe I should try it next time.
What I did do in fact was to fit a set of hooves by shaping a few bits of scrap wood.
Photo showing Oscar rocking horse ready for painting.
if you look really carefully, you will see the star shape extra support for the handles.
How to make the horses mane.
I borrowed a photo of one of my other rocking horse designs.
In the photo, I cut out a piece of cardboard following the shape of the head. Wrap the cardboard with packaging tape, then wool as shown.
Run a bead of PVA glue into the groove along the back of the head, then insert the mane as shown.
Once the glue has set, cut the wool along the outer edge and remove the cardboard.
Making the tail.
To make the tail, simply hold your hands apart to the length you want the tail to be.
Ask someone to wrap the wool around your hands, as much as you would want the thickness of the tail to be.
Drill a hole under the seat - the size should be large enough for you to fit the woollen loops.
Apply some PVA glue, and stuff the woollen loops into the hole.
Once the glue has set, you can cut the loops, and viola! your rocking horse has a tail.
There are two versions of this design.
Oscar has a seat height of 500mm (19.7 inches)
Rosie has a seat height of 350mm (13.8 inches.)
The building instructions can be used for both Oscar and Rosie.
Here is where you can share photos of the rocking horse you have made.
See the rocking horse projects made by woodworkers and toy makers from all corners of the globe.
Rocking Horse Rosie
Hi Tony thanks for posting your ideas and plans. Had a great time and learned a lot making this for my granddaughter. Very much appreciate your site.
Rocking Horse by Ron Guggisberg
Tony, As you can see... I liked your choice of colors too! A couple more things I will do different next time (next grandchild): 1. Don't use …
Just teaching myself woodwork after a lifetime of wondering if I can do it. So thankful I found this plan...many thanks for allowing me to create a little …
Rocking Horse Oscar by Roy Brownlow
Hey Tony, Greetings from Woodstock, Georgia. We finished pony. My wife painted it. Thank you