Solid wood (no dry rot allowed) hames were turned upside down to give a more natural appearing chair arm. Since the three back wood panels are tapered, the chairs are very comfortable for rocking. Adding extra horseshoes to the eventual design led to a much sturdier rocker.
When Joe Niles saw a garden bench built with metal harness hames, he got the idea to build rocking chairs that feature old pieces of harness and horseshoes picked up at flea markets. The retired farmer from La Farge, Wis., came up with unique designs for rocking chairs, end tables, benches and coffee tables that he and his wife, Donna, sell at antique shops and flea markets.
The couple sells their horse-themed rocking chairs for $285, end tables for $85, coffee tables for $165 and benches for $295. Each rocking chair takes about 15 hours of labor to put together. Since even pairs of hames are never the same exact length, many construction adjustments have to be made.
Joe Niles soon learned that wooden hames work better than metal ones as chair arms as they don’t have to be welded. Hames that fit draft horses are used for chair arms, while pony hames support each side and back of the rockers. Note the attention to detail that goes into this furniture.