Build An Heirloom Rocking Horse

For Your Child or Grandchild




Use a 3/8 inch radius, ball bearing pilot, round over bit in your table-mounted router to round all the edges as indicated by the slash marks on the pattern. Don't forget the eye and nose holes, but not the handle hole, in the horse's head. Please use care with the routing. The two times I have hurt myself in thirty years involved a router. The side thrust generated by a round over bit cutting hardwood is substantial and varies with the shape of the part. Watch out!


Clamp a board on the router table making a fence to rout the straight pieces. I drill or cut a small notch just large enough for the router bit.

Extending this fence very close to the cutting edge as shown above allows the fence to act as a chip-breaker; this gives a much smoother finish. After the straight pieces are routed, remove the fence and use the ball bearing pilot for the curved pieces.

Feed the stock into the cutter at appropriate speeds according to the direction of the wood grain. Feed slowly when cutting against the grain, faster when cutting with the grain. The curved portion of the horse's legs seem to give me the most trouble. Be cautious!


My new shopmade router table showing two router bits. The small holes you see are to insert locator pins on the many fences and jigs I attach to the table top for special parts.

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I had never handled a tool in my life, and yet in time, by labour, application, and contrivance, I found at last I wanted nothing but I could have made it.

Robinson Crusoe - 1719

Daniel Defoe






I frequently tramped eight or ten miles through the deepest snow
to keep an appointment with a beech-tree,
or a yellow birch, or an old acquaintance among the pines.

Henry David Thoreau, 

1817 - 1862






The one grand stage where he enacted all his various parts so manifold was his vice bench; a long rude ponderous table furnished with several vices, of different sizes, and both of iron and wood....A belaying pin is found too large to be easily inserted into its hole: the carpenter claps it into one of his ever–ready vices, and straightway files it smaller...A sailor takes a fancy to wear shark–bone earrings: the carpenter drills his ears. Another has the toothache: the carpenter out pincers...whirling round the handle of his wooden vice, the carpenter signs him to clap his jaw in that, if he would have him draw his tooth. Thus, this carpenter was prepared at all points.

Herman Melville

Moby Dick – 1851


You can rest your head on this steed made from my plans. A nice figure in the walnut as well.

wood rocking horse

John Michael Linck - Toymaker

2618 Van Hise Avenue - Madison, Wisconsin 53705

Web site catalog at -

Telephone 608-231-2808

email -


Click to see all of John's toys