Asked on Aug 24, 2014

How to keep rocking chair from tipping backward

Susi Schuele
by Susi Schuele
I'm so excited about this rocker. I found it at "Hippie Tom's" Serendipity Farm and thought it would make a perfect re-do project. It seemed to be in fabulous shape - other than the missing seat and back.
This piece was so great it didn't require sanding at all. I used a few coats of Rustoleum Gloss Grey paint and am really happy with the color and coating results.
My hubby cut a board for the seat and I sanded it as well as rounded the edges a bit. I then cut the foam seat and attached it with spray adhesive to the board. Next, I cut the batting and fabric and stapled them on, completing the seat.
I sat in this wonderful chair after the finished cushion was put in place. Comfy!! I started to rock a bit and quickly discovered that two things need an immediate remedy:
Question 1: The back - the poles are VERY uncomfortable on the back. I initially thought I would just put fabric down the middle but it needs more than that. So, my current plan is to get webbing and cover it and weave it on the back. But I don't know if that will be enough to take the discomfort out of the poles. Thoughts or advice here?
Question 2: I noticed that as I started to rock, the chair seemed to lean back a bit too far. Of course, I always push the envelope and decided to see exactly how far. Next thing I know, the chair completely tips backward and I land on the back of my poor sleeping lab! I felt HORRIBLE! She didn't even yelp and was not hurt at all but she got up and out of there pretty quickly. I checked her over, apologized, hugged and promptly treated her. Poor girl! Truth is - had she not been there, the likelihood is strong that I would have hit the tile floor head first. I might be a little sore and emotionally bruised but she saved me!
Anyway, I digress. Obviously I would not want anyone else to encounter the same fate so I'm looking for an absolute solution to this rocker EVER tipping like that again. Let your comments rain down!
I'm not sure I will be able to forgive this chair for hurting me or my labbie, but if we could make sure it doesn't happen again, it will save it from the "fail" pile.
Thanks in advance!
Straight from the farm
Painted beauty!
Painted demon rocker.
  11 answers
  • Carole Carole on Aug 24, 2014
    If you buy the proper upholstery webbing it will fix the problem. The canvas stuff on a roll at the hardware store might do the trick if you cannot get hold the proper stuff for the job. Padghams Upholstery have rolls of webbing and you can order on line - I think they mail to overseas or just Google and see if you find somewhere that stocks it. You need to pull the webbing tight though. Then a good thick cushion covered in fabric over the top. If the webbing is visible from behind, just add another piece of fabric to the back - you can stretch the fabric over one of those curtain wires at the top and bottom and tuck the fabric down the back to cover the webbing.
  • Anita Erskine Anita Erskine on Aug 25, 2014
    I have this exact chair. However mine needs completely refinished and I'm ashamed to say I began but haven't finished it. So first I need to get it stripped. I want to refinish the wood. I have the same situation with the seat and back. I have to admit since it doesn't have a seat, I haven't tried sitting in it. Guess I'll do that with padding behind me just in case it goes over backwards like yours. I do not know how to stop that from happening! Your chair turned out beautifully, I am more inspired to get mine done now!
  • Darla Darla on Dec 25, 2014
    I think the back was meant to have a tie-on cushion, maybe over some webbing. The problem with tipping is that the center of gravity is too far back over the base. You will need to extend the base back, probably at least 8 inches, or move the upper part of the chair where it attaches to the feet and center it over the feet. It looks like it may have been moved toward the back at some point.
  • Susi Schuele Susi Schuele on Jan 05, 2015
    Hi Darla - thanks for the great information. I did think it must be something to do with the platform. We ended up putting in some stops on the legs to keep it from going too far but I like your idea better and we may have to adjust that. Again - thanks so much. I'm not sure when you sent this - apparently I'm not getting notified of responses.
  • Susi Schuele Susi Schuele on Jan 05, 2015
    This is the finished product so far.
    • See 1 previous
    • Susi Schuele Susi Schuele on Jan 09, 2015
      @Anita Erskine thanks Anita! Believe it or not, I used a sheet! It worked perfectly and allowed for very long strips so there were not a lot of knots to tie. I started by tying strips from top to bottom and then weaved through horizontally.
  • Darla Darla on Jan 06, 2015
    It looks great - love what you did with the back, especially the flower!
  • Traci Darin Traci Darin on Jan 06, 2015
    I have a similar rocker - I believe if you reversed the rocking slats (what the chair is set on) you would solve the tipping backwards problem. I can't tell for sure from the photo, but it is possible someone took the chair apart and put it together backwards. Might be worth trying.
  • Amelia Mayone Amelia Mayone on Jan 29, 2016
    The base is on backwards.
    • Susi Schuele Susi Schuele on Jan 29, 2016
      @Amelia Mayone Thanks Amelia! After quite a while, we figured that out.. It was a piece that I picked up at a "junk sale". It had no back and no seat so I completely refurbished it and yes, we turned it around :)
  • Cathy Cathy on Jan 29, 2016
    Beautiful job! (although the cushion pattern should reflect 'age' appearance, perhaps a wool coverlet). The girls are correct in assessing the base is backwards on the rocker. The long platform should be on the back of chair. Short legs on the front. Simply un-screw chair from bottom & re-screw in same place but turned around. Drill pilot holes in frame in same location it was but with the chair turned around. Now the pivot of rocker has longer legs in the back to support weight when leaning backwards. Most of these chairs came in a kit where other individuals put them together; wrong. Also there are other Junkers that use part of one chair to make a new chair. Changing the pivot point will correct your problem. Good luck! Good job :-)
  • Cathy Cathy on Jan 31, 2016
    @Susi Schuele; We would like to see the results posted, after fix, and postings! :-)
  • A A on Jul 21, 2016
    This looks great. I am currently wonking on a similar piece. This appears to be a "carpet rocker" frame. The seat was made simply by creating a sling between the front and back bars. The open back was filled in with upholstery fabic, which would have been finished with decorative tacks.