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Is there any way to create a simple rocking horse without a band saw or scroll saw or belt sander, and not spending days whittling/hand-sawing rough pieces?

I have a miter saw, table saw, drill press, and a ton of hand tools (mostly for traditional bow-making), and wanted to make 3 rocking horses for some of my younger nieces. The recurring them is that I need a band-saw for the "rounded" pieces at the bottom. I'd do it with a hand saw, but I'd like these to look semi-professional without having to spend days hand-carving/sanding the rolling feet portion of the horse.

Is there an economical alternative to a stationary band saw or scroll saw, or some plans that allow me to get buy without? All of the quality bench-mounted saws and sanders are very expensive, from my searches through Amazon and Lowes.

Thank you.

  • You could try doing what I did. I picked up a lot of cheap tools on Craigslist, including a combination disc and belt sander, a band saw, and a scroll saw. I eventually upgraded both the sander and the band saw, but the cheap starter tools let me learn what I wanted in a tool, and whether I ever used it -- I have only used the scroll saw a small handful of times, and will probably never need a different one, unless I significantly change how I work. – Charlie Kilian Nov 10 '17 at 4:33
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Bent lamination would work well for making the rockers with the tools you have available. You can cut the thin strips on your table saw then glue and clamp them in a simple jig.

If you are constructing them from plywood, such as one method with the silhouette cut from a single sheet or you need to cut curves for other parts, a jig saw is a good choice and your most economical option as far as cutting curves with power tools.

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This shouldn't take days with hand tools. This is how I would approach it.

For the convex side (bottom side) of the curved rockers, roughly cut the shape with a hand saw (or use the table saw if you prefer). Make a few straight cuts outside the eventual curve, so you will end up with maybe 4 or 5 straight line sections.

For the concave side (top side), cut straight into the waste part inside the curve. Make several straight cuts perpendicular to the curve almost down to the line. Then pop out the sections between the cuts with a chisel. You can chisel along the grain, and the saw cuts act as breaks to allow sections of waste to chip off without splitting all the way through.

You will now have a rough approximation to the curve you want. If you have a spokeshave, you can finish off both sides of the curve with that. A plane will work well for the convex side too, but not for the concave side.

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