I made the rocking chair you see here two years ago, out of one of those discarded spools you can get free from your local electric or telephone company. I’ve used it quite a bit in that time, and it’s stood up well through treatment.
The chair’s construction was relatively easy. I cut out six of the cow slats, fastened one on the inside of the central drum so I’d have something to nail to and secured the other five to it to make the seat. A piece of plywood formed the back, and two 2-by-4s the rockers (or rather, the stops that control the spool’s built-in rocking action). The placement of those crosspieces is a matter of individual comfort. If you want a fancier piece of furniture, you can cut the rocker bars out of some other material . . . or saw the sides of the chair into arms and cover the whole thing with fabric.
Another idea along the same lines is to cut out a few core slats and put rocker bars on the spool ends. Then pad the center with foam and blankets, and you’ve got a baby cradle.
The smaller cable drums also have their uses. If you put a Lazy Susan bearing between two of them, for instance, the result is a revolving bookcase, television stand or whatever. In fact -once you start working with these handy spools- there’s no end to the inspirations you’ll come up with!.