Here’s how you make a wooden rocking Gamecock. How many times have you seen an item in a magazine or at a craft fair and said, “I can make that.” For me, all the time. For some things I am successful and others not so much.
This is one such story.
Several years back, I lived in Columbia SC. Now in South Carolina, you’re either a Gamecock or that other college a little further to the northwest. I have several ties to USC so my tendencies tend to swing that way.
At the time my grandson was about 2. I wanted to make him something he would hand down for generations.
A friend had a rocking horse that was shaped like a gamecock. Again, that voice in my head goes off, “I can make that.” Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. Read my full disclosure policy here for more details. As an Amazon Affiliate I earn from qualifying purchases.
These rocking gamecocks are very sturdy so you can’t just take them apart. So I had to do the best I could by just making measurements and going from there.
I looked at the gamecock and determined you needed several types of 2x’s. One 2×8 for the head and tail. One 2×10 for the main body and seat. And 2×6’s and 2×4’s for the legs, wings, rockers and platform. Another 2×2 for the handle and finally a 1 inch dowel rod for feet and hands. This wasn’t going to be light.
I then used some poster paper to create a stencil for the details. I cut out the drawings from the poster board. Transferred them to wood and began to cut using a jigsaw, circular saw table saw, and other wood working tools. When making the cuts I would always put the left and right together to ensure symmetry. The body actually has a middle piece inside making it 3 boards wide. This board had to align to the top front and bottom not so much the very middle.
The base attachment is also 3 board wide with the middle board going into the body of the bird. When cutting the pieces, use caution around items with points if you’re using pine. Due to the nature of the wood it may break or crack. However, once sealed it will stand the test of time. I then sanded and sanded and did I mention sanded. This was going to be for a 2 year old so no sharp edges cause he will find them. Once everything is sanded, I started to put it together.
I made the base first, put it aside, then started on the bird. I then made the base attachment which would connect the bird to the pedestal. I then sanded the pieces of the pedestal to make them flat.
Back to the bird, I laid one side down and positioned the head, tail, and base attachment to that side. My plan was to glue it all together, however if anything was off I wanted to correct it before becoming permanent. So I screwed it together with 2 inch screws. Checked that everything was aligned.
Of course it wasn’t, so back to more sanding. Once everything on the body was aligned, I took it apart then put the leg and wing on one side and screwed from the inside so no screws showed. I put the middle in attaching the head, tail, and base attachment board and 2×2 stick handle. I then put the other wing, leg and base attachment sides on. I couldn’t hide those screws. So I drilled them and I used a plug to cover the holes. I took the whole bird and placed it on the pedestal, aligned so it is exactly equal on all four points. Then shifted the whole structure back so it didn’t sit level but was a little tail heavy. I wanted it to be level when a child sat on it. Of course to make it totally level on the pedestal took more sanding.
Once everything was in place and I was happy with the outcome. I had to drill the dowel rods in for the feet and hands. At the wings this structure was 5 2x’s wide, quite heavy. I could have used a drill press to ensure it went straight. However, that would have caused me to build an attachment to my drill press table. So I took it apart. Again. Using a drill press, I aligned the wings and drilled them exactly alike. Drilled through 3 sections then the next and so on, taking my time and getting them all straight. The hand dowel was much easier, just going through a 2×2. However take your time here also.
I then painted the dowel rods, seat, handle, and legs. I put it back together this time using 2½” screws. I painted the bird taping off the base attachment (I wanted it to be clear). I sprayed both the pedestal and the bird with polyurethane. I wanted it to be a high clear gloss. I then glued and attached the pedestal to the base.
This project took some time but I figured it was worth it to make a family heirloom.
I showed it to buddy at work. He said he would love one but could I make it pink for his little girl. It is shown here also. The elephant in the picture will be the next story.
If you want further help, here’s a good book to get you started.
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