Step 7: Tension rods
The original plans had the two tension rods placed lower down on the chair, leaving them exposed when looking at the chair from the front. I deviated from the plans and decided to hide my tensions rods, the back one is hidden under where the underside of the seat meets the back rest dado and the other hidden directly behind the front strut, also under the seat. These locations keep the design even cleaner and has no exposed tension rods making it very kid-friendly.
Tension rod openings:
With the rocker sides clamped together again, I made a small pilot hole in the locations I wanted the tensions rods placed and then drilled through both rocker side panels with a 1/4" bit to create the opening. Since the chair tapers from front to back the tension rod openings will need to be angled in order to slide through when the chair is assembled. The original plans have a complicated method to measure the exact angle of the tension rods through each side panel. Since the tension rod caps have a wide flange which will cover any imperfections I decided to just eyeball the angle.
Tension rod length:
Once the openings are made place one end cap on each of the threaded rods, then feed them through one side panel from the outside inwards so the tension rod cap fits snug on the outside. With the chair on its side, assemble the chair and place the other side panel on. With a marker scribe where the tension rods meet the outside of the rocker side panel. Since the rocking chair tapers the tension rods will be two different lengths.
Cut tension rods:
Disassemble the chair and remove both threaded rods.
Before cutting thread on a ¼"-20 threaded hex nut. After cutting you can unscrew the nut over the portion you just cut and it will repair/realign the threads you may mangle while cutting.
Cut each threaded rod about a ¼" shorter than where you marked, this will seat the threaded rod inside the rocking chair side panel and keep the threaded rod end caps from poking out.