What Makes a Perfect Rocking Chair?

The wonder of a rocking chair! Something about sitting in this old fashioned favorite seems to slow time, and bring about an atmosphere reminiscent of happy afternoons-turned-evenings spent sipping iced tea on front porches while visiting with family and friends. A rocking chair offers a reprieve from the quick pace of daily life and takes anyone lucky enough to find a seat in one back to simpler times. It is the sound of neighborhood children playing, the sight of fireflies dancing through the sky at dusk, the smell of honeysuckle drifting through warm summer air, and the taste of your grandmother’s peach ice cream on your tongue. It’s the warmth, comfort, and familiarity of home no matter where you are.

Although sometimes you discover that something is missing in a rocking chair as soon as you take a seat. Maybe the seat is too high or the back is pitched at the wrong angle. Perhaps your arms don’t rest comfortably, or you find yourself shifting around to find the right place to sit. The rock may be squeaky or the frame flimsy. Sometimes the rocker refuses to rock at all. Instead of finding respite, you are confronted with the disappointment of a lost opportunity to relax.

So, what is it that makes a truly exceptional rocking chair?

At McKinnon and Harris, our quest to design the perfect rocking chair began with two fundamental elements – comfort and performance. While comfort is essential, performance ensures that comfort will last, and the chair you’ve created memories in will endure for generations. A rocker that will not only hear your stories, but will hear the stories your grandchildren tell about you.

(Left) Our Beaufort Rocking Chair (Right) Our McNeill Rocking Chairs

COMFORT

A perfect rocking chair should support your whole body, perfectly pitching you in an angle where pressure leaves your back and a feeling of weightlessness is achieved. Through months of sit testing with friends and family in our Richmond, Virginia workshop, we have refined each component of our rocking chairs to ensure a comfortable seat for every height.

  • Back Incline Angle – A great rocker settles into a pitch that takes the weight off of your spine. The pitch should be far enough back to provide a wide range of different seating angles to accommodate people of various heights
  • Balance Point – The balance point of the rocker needs to be far enough back, relieving your legs and feet of pressure. If the balance point is in the wrong place, you are forced to maintain constant pressure with your feet and legs to hold the rocker at a comfortable angle.
  • Contoured Cushions – Contoured seat and back cushions create a cozy seat that cradles you in place and assists in creating a perfect pitch.
  • Heavy weight – A heavy rocking chair helps to both propel you in motion and keep you in motion, resulting in a smooth and effortless rock.
(Left) Design by Charlotte Lucas and Photography by Chris Edwards featuring our Beaufort Rocking Chairs (Right) Our Otey Rocking Chair

PERFORMANCE

We are committed to building outdoor furniture to last without exception in even the most aggressive climates. You can rest assured that our rocking chairs will be there for you for many years to come.

  • Construction Techniques – Crafting things the best way often means the most difficult way, the way that simply takes more time. Our parts are cut and shaped by hand. Our complex and sophisticated joinery techniques enable our unrivaled furniture to last for generations.
  • High-Performance Aluminum – We only use the highest grade solid aluminum to ensure strength and longevity. Heavy gauge aluminum will not bend or break, even after many years of use.
  • Weatherproof – Our furniture is designed to stay outdoors year-round in even the most demanding exterior environments. More than twenty-five years of our research and development have led to the creation of our effective, environmentally friendly, protective coating technology. Our cushions drain quickly, allow for airflow to keep mildew out, and are enclosed with PTFE high performance sewing thread that is resistant to UV sunlight, chemicals, saltwater, extreme weather, and acid rain. Learn more about our Craftsmanship.

A perfect rocking chair connects the past with the present and will last long into the future. View our Rocking Chairs.

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