Top Brands Products Review on Hundreds of Home Furniture, Mattresses, Garden Fountains, Kitchen Furniture & More Products Reviews, Analyzes Them, Distills The Information Customer Need and Advise which Products are The Best for Them!
Kingsley-Bate – Turn your outdoor space into a true oasis with fine Kingsley-Bate furniture. Kingsley-Bate is America’s leading manufacturer of teak outdoor furniture. The designs are made to withstand the rigors of changing weather while maintaining its beautiful appearance. The furniture is made of premium quality teak or all-weather wicker and is constructed to meet the highest standards.
Kingsley-Bate is committed to environmental responsibility. The outdoor furniture and umbrellas use Javanese teak from environmentally secure sources to help combat deforestation in the world’s rainforests. Our wood comes from carefully controlled plantations which ensure equal reforestation and limited felling. A small amount of high-quality Burmese teak is also used in production. In most designs, the natural beauty of the wood is the center of attention. Clear finishes, natural colored fabrics and simple lines help to highlight the color and grain of the teak or wicker used in the piece. Matched sets and individual pieces are available to suit your needs.
KINGSLEY-BATE SALE $100 Credit
Sign up for Frontera Rewards & get a $100 credit
Towards your next purchase Kingsley-Bate of $1,000 or more at Frontera.com
America's Leading Manufacturer of Teak Outdoor Furniture
British craftsmen of the 18th-century discovered what their Eastern counterparts had known for centuries, that teak has qualities unlike any other wood. Its abilities to withstand the rigors of adverse climate, yet weather attractively, make it the ideal choice for exterior furnishings. We use only premium quality teak and precise mortise and tenon joinery in the construction of our furniture. And while our reputation was founded on teak, our furniture designs have expanded to incorporate the finest stainless steel and all-weather wicker as well. This combination of quality material and craftsmanship provides you with exterior furnishings of exceptional style and durability.
Committed to Environmental Responsibility
Preservation of the Earth's ecological system is today a major concern. Indiscriminate deforestation of the Amazon Basin and other rainforests has led to widespread suspicion by the public of those companies in the teak industry. Kingsley Bate is the first American company to use Javanese teak in the manufacture of its furniture. Our teak is harvested from carefully controlled plantations, established in Indonesia by the Dutch in the mid-19th century. The Indonesian government allows the felling of a limited number of trees each year, and ensures that an equal amount of reforestation takes place. In 1983 Kingsley Bate, in conjunction with the Indonesian government and its people, undertook to develop a teak furniture program in Java. Since then, Indonesia and Kingsley Bate have shown that such a program can be implemented without detriment to that country's natural resources. Due to the increasing demand for this beautiful hardwood, Kingsley Bate now uses a select amount of Burmese teak in its productions. Whether Javanese or Burmese, you can be assured that we use only the finest quality teak in our furniture.
When it comes to teak, Gignoux says that you can’t go wrong with the British companies Barlow Tyrie and Kingsley Bate. “They have lovely, classic lines,” she says. The Mendocino dining table from Kingsley Bate, in a rectangular or square shape, has the kind of elegant, flexible design that works well with traditional or modern chairs ($880-1,200, www.frontera.com). For more teak options, Robert Archer of Archer Modern in Cady’s Alley also recommends the Australian manufacturer Harbour Outdoor and Design Within Reach.
Design In USA and handcrafted in Europe. The World’s finest rocker chairs and the American rocker are our most comfortable all-weather outdoor rocking chairs
WHY BUY FRONTERA OUTDOOR ROCKING CHAIRS?
How to Avoid Making the Same Mistakes Others Have Made
Standard “teak” dining set sold in discount stores and garden centers – it doesn’t look bad when it has just arrived at the store.
What is Wrong With Buying a Rocking Chair from a Superstore?
It is possible to buy outdoor furniture at almost any price, so why not buy the cheapest thing available? The answer is that outdoor furniture will be rotten or broken in 2-3 years unless it is made of high quality, durable, weatherproof materials – and those superstore chairs usually aren’t. The furniture usually sold at superstores as “outdoor” wooden furniture is usually made of a non-weatherproof wood which has been painted. This presents two problems:
However, within just a few months, the sealer peels off, revealing a lesser wood underneath which begins immediately to rot.
$99 Doesn’t Buy Durability
First, these woods are nowhere near as strong and durable as Robinia. Robinia is one of the world’s hardest and most stable woods and is several times stronger than oak, ash, and hickory. You can literally pick up a chair in a superstore and know the difference – those chairs normally weigh between 20 and 25 pounds, while our rockers weigh 37 pounds and up.
Close-up of Joint Rot
Superstore Discount Chairs Aren’t Weatherproof
Second, paint does not last, and so the wood underneath will soon become exposed to the elements due to the aging of the paint and its shielding properties, and due to scratches, gaps in the paint at the joints due to expansion and contraction of the wood. The bottom line is that no furniture is weatherproof unless the material used to make it is weatherproof.
Seat and back slats rotting out
The Imitations Are Flattering, But Don’t Waste Your Hard-Earned Dollars
America has been flooded in recent years with Far Eastern imitation “teak” that is not weatherproof. You can spot this “teak” at garden stores because it usually looks pretty dreadful right there in the store’s outdoor display area – you can see that it has been coated with a “protectant” and that the protectant soon peels and flakes off in little pieces. When the “teak” underneath is exposed to the elements, it blackens and rots. Furniture like this is good outdoors for only 2-3 seasons, and it starts looking bad within months. Be especially wary when outdoor furniture and rocking chairs are displayed indoors in a store. The only way to know what you’re buying is to see it outdoors in the elements.
Frontera Rocker Chairs – World’s Finest Rocker!
Frontera Furniture Company has been designing, manufacturing, and selling premium weatherproof rocking chairs for more than 22 years, and our rockers are found in high-end resorts, hotels, restaurants, lodges, airports, camps, cabins, and gardens in more than forty countries worldwide. These resorts and hospitality professionals chose Frontera rockers because they are without a doubt the finest quality and most durable and comfortable weatherproof rocking chairs available anywhere.
Frontera has made the development of the perfect rocking chair its greatest goal and achievement, and our World’s Finest Rocker is our magnum opus. That’s not to say we won’t find another improvement or two in future years, but as you will learn upon sitting in one, there is no rocker closer to perfection than this one.
We want you to understand what makes a perfect rocking chair, and how to know the differences between chairs that are bad, good, and downright sublime. For this reason we invite you to read “How to Find A Perfect Rocking Chair”, written by our founder, Harvin C. Moore.
We also want you to get a feel for some of the varied places our rockers are located. Our clients have found that a superb rocking chair can help create exactly the ambience you are seeking if you operate a premium resort or other location where the relaxation and happiness of your customers is important. Everyone has a special place in their heart for a rocking chair – rocking chairs are iconic and they say “welcome, relax and have a seat.”And a truly great rocking chair goes further than that – it takes the weight off your customers’ feet and back, it provides a wonderful place to rest, read, or visit, and it warms up whatever room it is in. Lodges and camps frequently place our rockers at entrances, porches, and firesides to create the calm and welcoming atmosphere they seek. Corporate and church retreats have found that Frontera rockers help put harried overworked people into the right frame of mind to enjoy their retreat. Restaurants have placed multiple rockers in their waiting areas and seen bar tabs increase as customers actually savor the waiting time for a table. Hotels often place our rockers on porches of their rooms and cabins to turn a nondescript porch into an outdoor room, and a value-added location that guests savor and remember – they report that guests ask for rooms with rockers when making later reservations. And airports have begun to purchase our rockers to create a kinder and gentler atmosphere that has become all too rare in this day of security worries and long lines.
So whatever the characteristics of your location, consider the significant positive benefits of adding “the perfect rocking chair” to your location. Call us toll-free anytime to discuss how we can help you in your setting. If we are unable to talk when you call, leave your number or email us at email@example.com for friendly customer service.
Other Selected Installations of Frontera Rocking Chairs
Hershey Hotel Cottages, Hershey, PA
Camp Harbor View, Boston MA
Holiday Inn City Centre, Dublin Ireland
Wild Dunes Resort, Isle of Palms SC
Philadelphia International Airport, Philadelphia PA
Rio Ranch Restaurant, Houston TX
Camp Allen, Navasota TX
Kanuga Conference Center, Hendersonville NC
Mount Laurel Library, Mount Laurel NJ
The Greenbrier, White Sulphur Springs, WV
Beaufort House, Killarney Ireland
The Porches Inn, North Adams MA
University of Virginia Mountain Lake Biological Station Cabins, Mountain Lake VA
Camp Namanu, Sandy OR
Case Study – The Kanuga Conference Center, Hendersonville NC Read about how the popular Kanuga Conference Center utilized Frontera rockers for its facility.
Frontera Rockers at the Kanuga Conference Center
Affiliated with the Episcopal Church since 1928, Kanuga Conferences is situated on 1,400 mountain acres near Hendersonville, North Carolina, with scenic Kanuga Lake at its center. It welcomes more than 25,000 guests annually to the year-round conference center, Camp Kanuga, Camp Bob and the Mountain Trail Outdoor School. Kanuga provides a varied selection of programs year-round.
Kanuga wanted to create a peaceful place facing Kanuga Lake where retreat participants could gather to collaborate, and where guests could go to visit or rest on their own. Premium quality was a given – Kanuga has a reputation for high standards and beauty, and its guests are used to quality and comfort. The rockers needed to be weatherproof, since they would be left outdoors throughout the year in the sun, rain and snow. Kanuga wanted large chairs so that all its guests would be comfortable, and they wanted the chairs to be supremely comfortable so that the “Rocking Chair Porch” would be not only a nice place to go during their stay, but one of the most memorable and special places on the property.
“The Rocking Chair Porch – that’s what it is called – is and has been for decades the very heart of Kanuga. Our guests think the rockers are the cat’s pajamas. We’ll be ordering more for other areas.” Randy Boone, Director of Development, Kanuga Resorts, Inc.
So whatever the characteristics of your location, consider the significant positive benefits of adding “the perfect rocking chair” to your location. Call us toll-free anytime to discuss how we can help you in your setting. If we are unable to talk when you call, leave your number or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for friendly customer service.
Other Selected Installations of Frontera Rocking Chairs
Hershey Hotel Cottages, Hershey, PA Camp Harbor View, Boston MA Holiday Inn City Centre, Dublin Ireland Wild Dunes Resort, Isle of Palms SC Philadelphia International Airport, Philadelphia PA Rio Ranch Restaurant, Houston TX Camp Allen, Navasota TX Kanuga Conference Center, Hendersonville NC Mount Laurel Library, Mount Laurel NJ The Greenbrier, White Sulphur Springs, WV Beaufort House, Killarney Ireland The Porches Inn, North Adams MA University of Virginia Mountain Lake Biological Station Cabins, Mountain Lake VA Camp Namanu, Sandy OR
How To Assemble The Independence Rocking Chair
Key Elements of Superior Rocking Chair Construction:
Top Quality, Sustainably Harvested Robinia Hardwood
Highly Controlled Kiln Drying for Long Lasting, More Stable Wood
Cutting Edge Computer Design and Manufacturing Software
Mortise and Tenon Joinery
Quality Control Team Assembles Product from Each Cutting
Exterior Grade Paint Applied in Multiple Coats
Flat Packed, Partially Assembled to Save Cost and Ensure Easy Assembly for Our Customers
We Use Strong, Double Walled Corrugated Boxes Rarely Used by Many Cheaper Furniture Companies
The founders of Frontera have a generation of experience in designing and producing top quality furniture, and to us, every step in the process is critical to bringing you the kind of furniture you should expect. In a day of inexpensive, lightweight furniture sold at superstores, it is a relief to find a place that is still committed to the kind of quality that at one time was easily found for a price. Each of our pieces has been engineered for years of use at every step: the wood is top quality premium graded stock which has been 100% kiln-dried, all hardware is top grade, glue is non-water soluble, slats are cut to shape; not bent, and all construction is mortise and tenon. Just one indication of our quality is the weight of each piece. Compare our items to those sold in big box superstores or traditional furniture stores, and you will see why our furniture has become so popular all over the world, and why our customers so often return to obtain more items for the homes and gardens.
Our “Decor Americana” line of rocking chairs are made in a state of the art facility, utilizing highly trained labor and numerous computer controlled machines, which allow us to achieve our incredibly tight fit and keep our furniture tight for many years. These are photographs showing how our furniture is made.
Top quality, sustainably harvested wood. The beginning of every one of our rockers is superior wood. Our woods are harvested from licensed, managed yield plantations, and each piece of wood is certified by IBAMA as being sustainably produced. In a time of increasing environmental fragility, this assurance is critical. This certification paperwork literally follows the wood from the moment it leaves the plantation and is checked at governmental checkpoints along the way to the factory.
When the wood reaches the factory, the end grain is sealed so it can maintain maximum stability during the drying process. As the wood is prepared to enter the drying kiln, small spacers are inserted between layers of wood to allow the hot dry air of the kiln to evenly dry the wood.
Now in the kiln, the wood begins the long and crucial process of kiln drying. This process is expensive in terms of effort, time, and energy, and for these reasons, is often shortchanged in furniture of lesser quality. Kiln drying involves a very specific series of gradual heating, drying, re-humidifying, and drying again – each time making the wood slightly more dry and stable, but without deformation which occurs when the process occurs in less controlled conditions. Without proper kiln drying, furniture will later deform, loosen, and break. While harmless hairline cracks (“checking”) will still occur as the furniture ages, larger structural cracks which cause joints to loosen or break are rare in properly kiln-dried wood. Markings can be seen here which identify the age and origin of each batch of wood.
Our furniture begins to take shape as degreed, expert staff translate handmade designs into precise CAD/CAM instructions (computer aided design/computer aided manufacturing).
Our rockers’ precise fit and outstanding stability and durability is achieved by the use of CAD/CAM techniques which not only optimize the use of a valuable wood like Robinia, but also ensure the proper placement of joints and other structural components that allow us to find an ideal balance between stability and comfort. For example, in this photo, the design engineer is determining the precise location of mortise joints for the seats of our Adirondack chairs. Manufacturers without this technology still attach seat slats to the top surface of their Adirondack chairs, which results in inferior stability and the exposure of screws to the elements and to your clothing. Mortise and tenon joinery results in an Adirondack that is better then ever before.
Now fully dried, wood is fed into NC (numerically controlled) planers which receive their instructions from the central computer servers which translateCAD designs into NC commands.
NC machines are also run by highly trained workers who are familiar not only with woodworking, but also with CAD/CAM technology. Each NC machine has a command console so that machine operator can monitor the manufacturing process in real time.
Less Waste, Greater Stability. This machine trims blocks of Brazilian Cherry into our signature thick chair posts. Our luxurious thick posts would not be possible without the kiln drying and high technology machinery because of the tendency of thick wood components to deform when drying in an uncontrolled manner.
Quality control personnel check measurements of wood components periodically to ensure any problems are corrected before causing problems later in the process or in your home.
Comparing our chairs even for a moment with others on the market will reveal a vast difference in fit and finish. Despite the use of NC machinery for many parts of the manufacturing process, there is no substitute for the human touch in the final sanding of chair parts such as seat slats, arms, and back posts.
Many of our customers prefer a natural oiled finish, which is initially applied in the factory (here, to rocking chair runners). This finish is not required for weather resistance in a true outdoor wood like Robinia, but it allows our customers to choose either let the wood age naturally, or to apply an approved cleaner and protector each season to maintain the original color indefinitely.
Painted pieces go through an even more labor intensive process. Each piece is sanded and primed before the initial application of our high quality exterior painted finishes. The next two photos show the finishing of the cross-beam of our A-frame swing stand.
Each piece of painted wood is then completely re-sanded before a second coat of paint is applied. These steps are often overlooked in lesser quality furniture, resulting in an inferior look and durability.
Quality control personnel totally assemble furniture from each cutting of furniture (here, an Adirondack chair) to ensure there are no problems despite the CAD/CAM manufacturing process and prior levels of QC.
Shipping furniture is quite expensive due to weight, volume, and resulting transportation costs resulting from – especially high quality furniture made of a dense and precious wood like Robinia. However, customers do not want to receive completely unassembled furniture except when they are shopping at huge Swedish discount stores. Each piece of quality furniture from Décor Americana is shipped in a partially assembled format that makes final completion easy and yet saves more than 60% of the usual cost of transportation. For most of our items, this translates to about $45 in additional shipping cost you would pay on each item (for customers who nevertheless prefer completely fully assembled pieces, many items are available – contact customer service if you would like more information).
Packed with care. A perfectly constructed chair is no help at all if it arrives to our customers in poor condition. 17 years in the high end mail order furniture business gives Frontera tremendous experience in packaging, and our packing techniques are the best in the business, as evidenced not only by the following photos, but by dozens of breathless testimonials from delighted customers. An investment on our part in exhaustive packing care protects your investment in fine furniture.
Interior packing is only half the story of why our furniture arrives to our customers in excellent condition – the other half of the story is strong, 250 pound double-walled corrugated boxes, which can withstand enormous ordeals in shipping without damage to your investment inside. Boxes of this quality are expensive and rarely used except by makers of the most exclusive brands of outdoor furniture.
The final result. While we enjoy telling the story of why our furniture is superior to almost anything you will find elsewhere, all that matters to our customers is the result. Our careful, professional, and labor- and technology- intensive process design and manufacturing process brings you peace of mind. You come to us because you want to best, and we put your money into the features that you value – superior design and comfort, stability and durability. We help you enjoy your home more with furniture that you will always be proud of – pieces that you will value and pass on as heirlooms one day. An investment in quality is an investment in peace of mind.
How to Find the Perfect Rocking Chair
By Harvin C. Moore
There really is nothing like a great rocking chair. No matter whether you are nine years old or ninety, you know what I mean. A great rocker cradles you – it pitches you back to that angle where the pressure leaves your back, the weight is off your feet, your arms are relaxed – and, well, it’s just a great feeling. A rocker turns your porch or patio into an outdoor room – it’s like adding a room to your house for a couple of hundred dollars. A rocker creates an atmosphere that slows down time – loosens you up, and your guests too – to enjoy the precious time you have at the end of the day to reflect and relax. My grandmother had some really great rocking chairs on her porch – she was a true rocking chair connoisseur – and being in a great rocker takes me back to those happy evenings sipping iced tea and visiting with friends and family. Even today, sometimes I’ll find myself in a hotel that has a truly great rocking chair in a truly great spot for reading, or chatting, or just sitting still and thinking for a while.
But, you know, most rocking chairs aren’t quite perfect. Now, I think you know what I mean. They’re all pretty great – but when you’ve been in a perfect rocking chair, then there really is something missing when you sit in a chair that’s not quite right. Maybe the seat is too high – or the back doesn’t pitch back at the right angle. Sometimes the arms don’t fit you, or your head or shoulders hit the back slats in the wrong place. Some seats are perfectly contoured, others make you shift around looking for the right spot to sit on. Some squeak like a trapped mouse. Others are flimsy or lightweight, and feel out of balance when you try to rock – while others almost won’t rock at all.
And so this article is about what makes a rocking chair truly perfect. What are the characteristics of a truly great rocking chair that will totally satisfy, and never leave you with that nagging feeling that you aren’t quite fully relaxed?
And how on earth would I know anyway? What makes me such an expert? A fair question. I’ve already said that my grandmother, Elizabeth Poorman Moore, was a rocker expert. And she was. She was born in Katy, Texas, in 1917 to rice farmers, and they knew the meaning of hard work, hot days, and how to relax that sore back when the day was done. They didn’t have air conditioning, so the porch was where they went to relax. She grew up knowing what a rocking chair was for – why it was invented. After marrying an architect who shared her appreciation of quality design, she opened a small store for fine antiques, including furniture and rocking chairs. She also purchased an original 1800s-era Stagecoach Inn and operated it for more than twenty years as an upscale bed and breakfast. Thousands of discerning people came and rocked.
I got to know great design and great furniture from my grandparents, but, after a career in banking and investment banking in the 1980s and 90s, I set off on my own to design and build rocking chairs – not antiques, like my grandmother – but brand new rockers, which I could make to any perfecting standard I could think of. I opened up a store in 1992 in Houston and sold the rockers we made in a little factory in rural Texas. My idea was to design the perfect rocking chair, and then make lots of them, and sell them at a reasonable price. The more I got to know my competition, the less afraid of them I became. It seemed that everyone that made rocking chairs did so because there was a market for them – but nobody seemed to be listening to the customer – it seemed like no one was taking the time to get everything just right; the way you would if you really had passion, and were committed to making a chair for yourself or for someone very special to you. So that’s what I did.
Since that time I have sold tens of thousands of rocking chairs – not just made in that factory, but later made in other factories under contract to me, with a few improvements made to the design every few years. My rockers were purchased by young couples, old folks and new moms. As word got around, my rockers cradled sports stars, news anchors, mayors, governors and even a U. S. President. They were bought by designers, architects, bed & breakfasts, restaurants and hotels. At last count, my rockers are in 41 countries around the globe, adding just a little special spot in each place they occupy.
So what makes the perfect rocking chair? I would say the key factors are comfort and strength. Comfort is what we’re seeking, but of course strength is about assuring that the comfort will last.
Comfort means a lot of things to a lot of people, but I can tell you after 16 years of selling rockers to thousands of discerning customers, there are some key aspects of comfort almost everyone can agree on, and which will help you find the perfect chair:
1. Angle of incline. A great rocker settles into a pitch that takes the weight off your spine. Different people have slightly different preferences for this angle, but a good rocker is built with a back that is pitched back and long runners that provide a wide range of sitting angles. Most rockers have a back post that is straight, but set into the runners at an angle. This puts structural stresses on the chair and there is a limit to how much angle you can get in this manner. A much more expensive construction technique which improves on this is a “cut-angle” back, which allows the chair to be squared up as far as the seat, and the back post is then cut at an angle to allow a larger back angle than is possible with a straight back post. Actually, this technique is not even possible with most woods, since cutting many woods at an angle significantly reduces their strength and could result in a broken back either in shipping or while rocking! Every rocker has a balance point. Trouble is, the balance point is often not far enough back – meaning you have to maintain constant pressure with your legs and feet to hold the rocker back far enough to get the angle you need for comfort. A cut-angle back rests much closer to that balance point, so that you can get to the balance point without having to push as far back in the rocker. That makes a huge difference in comfort.
2. Contoured Seat and back. Have you ever been to a great restaurant that has uncomfortable chairs? How about most airplanes? It amazes me every time, but the fact is that not all chairs are created equal – and the most common reason a chair is uncomfortable is that the seat and back are not contoured in a way that cradles your rear end in a position that takes the stress off your lower back. Part of that job is done by the contours of the seat, and the rest of the job is done by the contour of the chair back. A great chair seat is contoured in both directions – it will have roughly a “S” shaped contour from front to back, and a very shallow “U” contour from left to right. A quality chair back will angle back starting just above your lower back, and will also have a “U” contour from left to right. That is where airplane seats so uncomfortable – the back has a “U” shape in bothdirections – and that’s a no-no! A U-shape in the vertical direction angles toward you as it moves up your back, putting stress on your back and leading to tremendous back fatigue the longer you sit there. Contouring costs a lot of money in the manufacture of a chair – and this is one major reason why good contouring is rare.
4. Full Adult Size. Here is the oldest trick in retail: shrink your product just a little bit so you can offer a cheaper price. This happens all the time; a manufacturer can save a lot of money in materials and freight by shrinking a chair. People get very excited about getting a rocker for $99 and then wonder why it doesn’t feel quite as fantastic as they had hoped. If you’re small, you might want a little rocker, but a larger rocker, if designed well, almost always feels better and will feel better for your guests too.
5. Heavy weight. In general, a heavy rocking chair rocks better and feels better. The reason for this is that you get leverage in rocking from a heavy chair – a little push from your feet results in a substantial range of motion that cradles you and feels right. A lightweight chair feels like nothing – you feel like you’re doing all the work – and you are. Compare sometime and you’ll know what I mean.
6. Wide Arms. This may seem minor, but there is a true feeling of luxury from wide arms. When you push back to rock, you want to have a wide surface to rest against, which makes rocking easier. More importantly, a wide arm gives you more room to find that perfect angle for comfort for your arms and elbows. Every person is a little different, so a narrow arm won’t “fit” most people and it’s pretty unlikely it will give you that perfect fit either.
7. Non splintering wood. You only need to learn this once – ouch! Rockers made from cheap woods develop splinters as the grain lifts from age and exposure to the elements. It isn’t only a problem for your arms and fingers – it can be an expensive problem for your pants or hose! Splinters from seat slats can and will ruin your clothes and your day.
8. Seat Slat Guard. Here’s a really rare feature that you need to know about. I already mentioned the way splinters on seat slats. But the most uncomfortable thing about seat slats is that they are usually exposed to your legs on the front, resulting in some pretty sharp experiences as you sit down or get up. Even when the slats have been laboriously sanded, seat slat edges are simply uncomfortable on the back of your legs and detract from a relaxing rocking experience. The best way to deal with this is with a “seat slat guard” which a few makers have added to the front of their seats. This is simply a smooth solid structural element that extends across the front of the seat slats so that your legs feel nothing but a gentle curve – and not slat edges. It also makes the seat and chair significantly stronger.
9. A footstool. I mentioned that the wonder of a rocking chair is that it takes the weight off your back and puts you in a relaxing position. But the best sitting angle depends on the length of your legs, the height of your back, where your elbows hit the arms, etc. So some folks will feel best at a 20 degree angle, while others will want a 30 degree angle in the same chair. The secret is a footstool. By raising your feet onto a footstool, you automatically increase the back angle – the amount of angle depending on how close you position the stool. In addition, having your knees higher will straighten your lower back and increase your comfort. In fact, with a footstool, you can achieve the g-spot of rocking perfection – which is the “zero-gravity experience.” Perhaps you’ve seen the popular new “zero gravity chairs” that simulate a weightless experience by a combination of lowering the chair back and raising a footrest. It’s not really a new invention – in our living roomes we call this a La-Z-Boy recliner – and outside, the first “zero-G” lounge chair was popularized by France’s La Fuma in the 1940s. Anyway, you can achieve this nirvana in a rocking chair merely by purchasing a footstool. Do it. Thank me later.
1. Wood type. The best way to save money is always with cheap materials. Cheap chairs are made from cheap wood. Cheap wood doesn’t hold up. The cheapest woods are “softwoods”, so named because they grow very quickly and their cellular structures are simpler and far less dense, leading to lower strength in most cases. My four-year old son learned to break a pine plank with his hands in Tai Kwon Do – there’s a reason they don’t use hickory in that exercise. Hardwoods grow much more slowly, and therefore are much more expensive to raise. Especially in a rocking chair, strength is extremely important. Seat slats are by nature fairly thin, and so need to be made from the strongest wood possible if they are to last for a long time. So don’t buy a rocker made from pine, cedar, or redwood – those are softwoods. But even hardwoods are not created equal. Many rockers are made of oak, ash, beech, birch, or “mixed hardwoods”. None of these are weatherproof (see next section), but especially beware of anything labeled merely as “hardwood”. Almost every widely available rocker available today is now made from “hardwood”, which means in practice that it is made from a mixture of different hardwoods, all of which age in different ways. When humidity changes, as it does every season and every day, these woods will shrink and contract differently, resulting in a gradual loosening of the chair. That strong, tight chair you bring home from the store can be a flimsy loose chair within just one year of normal use for this reason.
2. Weatherproof. Any chair that is going to be used outside, even on a covered porch, should be weatherproof if you expect it last more than a few years. The three enemies of furniture are variable moisture levels, water, and sunlight. I already mentioned how varying humidity causes wood to expand and contract each day and night, and with the seasons. Even if you don’t touch a chair, it will loosen over time unless it is made from a dense hardwood that is extremely stable. Water penetration is very damaging to non-weatherproof wood. Water finds its way into any crack or gap in your chair, and through any thin spot or chip in the finish. Once water has penetrated, it will soak into the wood and begin to rot. This makes chairs turn black, especially near the joints, and is the reason why every non-weatherproof rocker will eventually have its runner snap right off – and you can’t fix a rotted post or runner. Sunlight breaks down the cellular structure of the wood and wears away finishes, even “exterior” paints. Remember – we can put humans on the moon, but we still haven’t made a housepaint that doesn’t need to be re-applied every 5-6 years. Paint does not last, so don’t make the mistake of thinking a chair is weatherproof just because it has an exterior paint. Once the paint begins to degrade, all that matters is whether the wood underneath is weatherproof – and very few woods are. Teak and Robinia are two of the most suitable weatherproof woods for furniture. Both are more expensive than non-weatherproof woods, but they are worth it because they last. After you replace an inferior chair the first time, you will have spent more for your second inferior chair than you wood have by buying a weatherproof chair the first time. To say nothing of the waste of throwing your first chair into a landfill somewhere – not environmentally friendly!
Teak is currently the most popular weatherproof wood, although it is very expensive because true teak comes only from very far-away places where the trees take over 60 years to reach maturity. By the way, don’t be fooled by lesser woods from eastern Asia marketed as “teak” but made from totally different, and inferior, woods. An increasingly popular material for weatherproof furniture is Robinia, which matures in only 30 years and is actually harder and more stable than teak and has the added benefit that it can be painted, which teak cannot.
3. Construction Techniques. Chairs take a huge amount of stress and have to be engineered more carefully than any other type of furniture, or they will loosen or break. And no chair takes more stress than a rocking chair. As you rock back and forth in a rocking chair, you place huge shear stresses on the joints, especially where the seat and arms connect to the front and back posts. Most chairs can stand this stress for a while – perhaps months or years. But few chairs can hold up to years of use unless they are made of a very dense wood, and built with serious attention to quality joinery techniques. Fine furniture is made with traditional “mortise and tenon” joinery techniques, in which each joint consists of a strong tapered end that extends far inside a matching hole in the receiving piece. Key joints are the ones connecting the posts to the dowels (horizontal braces), and connecting the posts to the runners. In an outdoor chair, there are certain joints that should also be braced with weatherproof glue and a quality screw to minimize the loosening that happens over time. But neither glue nor screws are a replacement for quality wood and construction techniques.
4. Thickness of parts. If wood density and strength is one factor, then certainly the thickness of the wood is the other. The main thing to watch for in a rocker is the thickness of seat slats. The first thing to go in a low quality rocking chair is a broken seat slat – and trying to replace a broken seat slat will wear you out and beat you every time. One broken slat and it’s off to the landfill with your rocker. Sometimes, a manufacturer will try to make up for a lower quality wood by making the parts thicker to compensate. I must say I appreciate the effort, because that is helpful. However, it doesn’t fully compensate, and also results in a very clunky look and a chair that won’t rock properly either.
Heaviness alone is no guarantee of quality – but many of the factors that create a great rocker also create weight – like a dense quality hardwood, thick posts and slats, full adult size, and the other things we’ve talked about. Perhaps it’s more accurate to say that you should beware a lightweight rocker. Most rockers available in the superstores weight about 20-25 pounds, and you just can’t make a quality chair at that weight. I’ve tried it and learned that lesson very early on. The rockers we make now are between 37 and 50 pounds.
Well, we’ve talked a lot about what makes a great rocking chair. Like most things in life, the answer is not simple, but there is a great reward from knowing your way as you compare rockers in order to become confident that you will have the best there is. As you shop, observe the characteristics I mention above, and sit in every chair with those characteristics in mind as you narrow down your choices.
After twenty years in my quest to create the perfect rocker, I made what I believe is my magnum opus, The World’s Finest Rocker. After five years, I still have not found even one thing I would change to improve it – and that has never happened before – it’s a great feeling. People who buy it tell me they’ve never been in a better rocker. They buy one or two and then come back for more, and start giving them to friends and family for special occasions. Hotels are choosing this chair above the others we offer.
I partnered with a strong, family owned furniture factory using highly precise machinery for consistent quality. I chose Robinia so that it is weatherproof and can be painted – it is available in natural oil, three painted colors, three more weathered paint finishes, and two indoor/outdoor luxury stains. I made the proportions large – a wide seat and back, wide arms, a tall back and long runners. I incorporated contours everywhere they should be provided – in both axes of the seat and in the back. I utilized a cut-angle back to increase the back angle, and gave the back a slight left to right contour as well. I included a seat slat guard in the front of the seat, and an extra structural piece on the side of the seat that adds strength and improves the look as well. And I made a matching footstool for that incomparable zero-G effect.
All those considerations made it significantly more expensive to build, but I compensated by buying in large quantities and not being greedy in our profit margins. Freight costs are a large portion of the cost of furniture, and we slashed those costs by creating a “partially assembled” chair that comes in a relatively flat box but can be assembled by most people in about 20 minutes. We perfected packing techniques to protect parts from damage inside the box, and we used top-quality thick corrugated boxes that protect the furniture inside. It’s amazing how much money you save when you make furniture that never breaks in shipping or gets returned – those costs are a large part of most furniture you buy. This rocker is available from Frontera with free shipping and a satisfaction guarantee. Whether you buy this chair or another one, I know you will be glad you learned a bit more about what makes the perfect rocker before investing in the last rocker you’ll ever buy.
When you sit in the perfect rocker, you will get that feeling of bliss that comes from knowing “it doesn’t get any better than this.” And your guests will notice – I have watched the faces of thousands of people light up as they sat in a great rocker and felt that feeling – and that feeling is a great way to start a memorable evening with family or friends on your porch.
Nolah Mattress Best Mattress For Side Sleepers
BEST BED UNDER $1,000 – 365 NIGHT TRIAL
Order today to receive $125 off plus two free Nectar Pillows ($275 Total Value). Expiring soon