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Building A Child’s Heirloom Quality Rocking Horse From Plans

Childs Rocking Horse Heirloom

Almost Done

So in celebration of my Daughters 1st Birthday last year I decided to do a little woodworking project. Having built a side table, mantle and other projects I figured it would be the next step in my wood craft training and would be a wonderful gift that hopefully one day she could pass on to her own children.

At first I had some friends ask me why not just buy one?, there are plenty around on Craigslist and even new ones cost less than what I made this one for.

The simple answer: Because I Can… and she will grow to one day appreciate all the hard work I put into it.

The hard part for me was finding the right design that looked classical and would gather admiration for the beauty and the functionality.

After much searching online, the plans I settled on were from John Michael Linck – Toymaker. His website is http://www.woodentoy.com and the rocking horse is found here. I highly recommend his plan and following his online book , it’s a bargain for what you get.

I didn’t do a video of making it but I will say that it took me around 22 Hours, not counting tracking down the 1″ Black Walnut, wet sanding, and finishing the tail which I did after her Birthday. I also used a larger hand dowel and stuck with the Birch for the contrasting color of the dowels.


It was allot of hard work, and I made only a few minor mistakes which was helpful because I started on this the week before her birthday and got it ready just in time. I would say that it’s probably not the best wood project for a true beginner but if you have a little experience you can make it work.

I also don’t have all the necessary tools required and used my old router and made my own router table…was kind of scary routing out some of the smaller pieces with no guide…but I still have all my fingers.

I used a flush cut Japanese saw to cut the dowels off after gluing, be sure to test all dowels and buy a high quality bit just for the dowel holes so you don’t have any issues with tear out on the backside.

For the tail I opted for using an old leather belt from Goodwill, the kind that has multiple strands of leather. I wrapped it around a wood dowel and glued it into the hole just like using a rope. I thought it looked nicer and might hold up better over the years.

I’ll include a few of the photo’s I took, I didn’t take a picture of the plans stencils, but you can see a few of them in some of the pictures.

Keeping everything on clean is important when using just glue and dowels. I spent unknown hours wet sanding afterwards

Hey John, If you see this..Thank You. It was a wonderful project that I believe is worth the $350 it costs to have you build one…How you can sell them for that cost and still come out ahead I don’t know.



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About Rick

I've been an HVAC/R Mechanic working in the Seattle area for over 15 years, specializing in the commercial service industry.. I’m also a Licensed Electrician & Gas Piping Mechanic and have numerous other trade related certifications. I’ve instructed at local trade schools and now continue teaching through this site.

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