sapele rocker

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Project by cathyb posted 09-22-2013 01:03 AM 2709 views 7 times favorited 30 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This sapele rocker was a commission piece. The first three photos are the sapele rocker and the last is my latest koa rocker. Even though the wood is not bad looking, I won’t make a sapele rocker again. The biggest issue with sapele, other than the fact that it is a little brittle , is it’s reluctance to bend. My rockers have bent laminate rockers, head rest and back rest. From the outset that was a big issue. I added some koa to the rockers and the face of the head rest for looks. I absolutely needed help with the backrest with the double curve. In that case, of the six ply layers, two layers were tropical ash, one was koa and the final three were sapele. Even with help from bendable wood, cleaning up the backrest was tricky. It was still stiffer than a koa back rest.

The rocker is finished with four coats of General polyurethane.

As always, I appreciate your critiques and criticisms. Any words of wisdom are always welcomed.


-- cathyb, Hawaii,

30 comments so far

View mmh's profile


3677 posts in 3806 days

#1 posted 09-22-2013 01:07 AM

Beautifully executed! Your portfolio of work shows how versatile and talented you are!

-- "They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night." ~ Edgar Allan Poe

View vonhagen's profile


539 posts in 2448 days

#2 posted 09-22-2013 01:15 AM

you are a master or i guess a masteress of fine woodworking and it really shows here.

-- no matter what size job big or small do a job right or don't do it at all.

View Kaleb the Swede's profile

Kaleb the Swede

1843 posts in 2053 days

#3 posted 09-22-2013 01:33 AM

Wow! Wow! Great work! You are very inspiring to me with your detail in your work Miss Cathy. I like this a lot

-- Just trying to build something beautiful

View SteveGaskins's profile


753 posts in 2671 days

#4 posted 09-22-2013 01:56 AM

Cathy, your work has always inspired me. Excellent build!

-- Steve, South Carolina,

View Woodbridge's profile


3560 posts in 2502 days

#5 posted 09-22-2013 02:02 AM

beautiful rockers!

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

View Handtooler's profile


1618 posts in 2216 days

#6 posted 09-22-2013 02:11 AM

Absolutely FANTASTIC! You are a true and tried Craftswoman of the Nth Degree.

-- Russell Pitner Hixson, TN 37343

View SamuelP's profile


793 posts in 2730 days

#7 posted 09-22-2013 02:35 AM

Insane finish and design.

-- -Sam - FL- "A man who carries a cat by the tail learns somthing he can in no other way" -Mark Twain

View mbs's profile


1657 posts in 3024 days

#8 posted 09-22-2013 02:37 AM

I’ve been waiting to see the finished product. It looks similar to mahogony but im sure it was a lot more work.

You did an outstanding job – as usual.

-- Sorry the reply is so long. I didn't have time to write a short reply.

View kiefer's profile


5619 posts in 2751 days

#9 posted 09-22-2013 03:22 AM

Looks kind of Maloof but with a new twist ,love the way you did the back slats .
Beautiful joinery .

-- Kiefer

View lightweightladylefty's profile


3250 posts in 3796 days

#10 posted 09-22-2013 04:29 AM


This is another exquisite piece of furniture from you. Your craftsmanship is always outstanding. Your tackled the problems with sapele with finesse.


-- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View fernandoindia's profile


1081 posts in 3027 days

#11 posted 09-22-2013 04:36 AM

I donĀ“t have any wisdom words Cathy, sorry. But Beautiful rockers. The sapele seat looks fantastic.

-- Back home. Fernando

View Benji Reyes's profile

Benji Reyes

334 posts in 3162 days

#12 posted 09-22-2013 05:11 AM

A fine build Cathy. I’m sure the owner will be proud to have it and pass on to his children and grand children. I like the irregular ends of the back splats. It gives an organic feel to it. Congratulations!

-- Benji Reyes, Antipolo, Philippines,

View cathyb's profile


806 posts in 3328 days

#13 posted 09-22-2013 05:55 AM

Thanks everyone. Tomorrow the rocker will be gone. Yea!
Something wonderful happened tonight: I was able to buy 60 bf of narra from a another woodworker here in Hawaii. It’s not totally dry, but I can wait a year or two. Next year, I plan to make a narra rocker. Man that is a project that I will dream about until I begin. Narra, unlike sapele, really likes to be shaped and sculpted and bent. Throughout that process it gives off the most wonderful fragrance. In the end, it is a dream finish. That is my kind of wood. Sigh….......

-- cathyb, Hawaii,

View DocSavage45's profile


8654 posts in 2926 days

#14 posted 09-22-2013 07:55 AM

Fine work on a tough project. Sounds like your going to have a sensational time with that wood. LOL!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View michelletwo's profile


2750 posts in 3099 days

#15 posted 09-22-2013 08:58 AM

gorgeous rocker..stunning finish. I see you concur now with my opinion of sapele as rocker wood. (I think I said I would not use it, in a post or two ago where you asked for info) You did a good “get around” to get it included in the rocker. Super job on this, congrats

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