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Help us with a retrospective on Sam Maloof for an upcoming article in Fine Woodworking magazine. The furniture-making legend died May 21 at the age of 93.
Help us with an article for an upcoming issue of Fine Woodworking magazine. We’re putting together a retrospective on Sam Maloof (1916-2009) and need your assistance.
Please send us an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or post a comment to let us know how his life and work influenced you. Email us high-resolution images to show how his furniture affected your own.
Or, if you have a great story about this furniture-making legend, we’d love to hear that as well. It’s a chance to commemorate the man, share your memories, and show Maloof-influenced work in the magazine.
Again, please email us explaining how he your influenced work and send high-resolution images as examples to email@example.com. Or, if you just have a comment, please feel free to post it below. Thanks to all those who already shared their thoughts/comments on this blog post.
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I first encountered Sam's work at a joint show with Art Carpenter, Wharton Eshrick, George Nakashima and Wendell Castle in the Renwick gallery in Washington DC. My wife and I were taking an extended hippie honeymoon after I graduated design school. I was looking for work and their woodworking was the perfect combination of design and craftsmanship for my training and talent. We then visited the fledgling Eshrick museum, tried to contact Nakashima and Castle and visited Sam and Art. Sam graciously showed us around, but his son was his only employee. Amazing to me, I was raised less than ten miles from his home. I was lucky enough to apprentice with Art and philosophically he is my mentor, but in terms of design, I've always leaned more towards Sam. I will miss them both.
I knew Sam for over 30 Years. Living only 5 miles from his home/shop, I had the opportunity to attend several of his classes, both at his work shop and at Andersons Ranch. On one occasion Sam sat with me and a friend Marty Ratterman and talk for 3 hour about his long and prospersious career, he gave us a tour of his shop, lumber storage area and his new house.
I look back on my 35 years of furniture making and I ask myself one question? If it were not for Sam Maloof what type of furniture would I be making today. Sam's designs have been a real influence on my woodworking career.
Weather is is good or bad, many of my designs have a very distinct Maloof inflence. People that see my work always ask, "Do you know Sam Maloof?"
He will be missed by many and there isn't a day that goes by that I don't think or see Sam Maloof in my life. I hope he is now designing and building furnniture for you know who.
If you would like to discuss additional experiences I had with Sam, please do not hesitate to contact me.
I met Sam a couple of times. The first time was at a workshop at Andersen Ranch in Aspen, CO. During the workshop, Sam built a chair, and described the process to the audience. It was fantastic.
He told a story at lunch one day about a conversation he had with a salesman at the Porsche dealership where he bought his car. The salesman was impressed that someone Sam's age would want to buy a Porsche, saying that most men his age would be sitting at home in a rocking chair. Sam replied that his rocking chairs sold for a higher price than the salesman's Porsche.
The second time I met Sam was at his home and ranch in LA. My wife and I went there for the standard tour, and saw Sam right when we got there. After the tour, he showed us around his shop, his lumber storage sheds, and even brought us in to visit his new home. You couldn't meet a nicer, more generous, or more genuine person.
As theguyfromupnorth writes, I never met or saw Sam or his creations, but I read all I could about him and his designs. I loved the way he would defy convention on the bandsaw. His finishes are on all my pieces. His creations are like Windsors - they'll be around for a very long time.
I attended a woodworkers' fair in the 1980s -- one of many I went to -- and on one occasion paid to hear Sam Maloof give a talk about building a diningroom table.
Nobody in my immediate family appreciates the subtleties of woodworking; I am all alone in this. So it was immensely fulfilling for me to sit on my folding chair in a fairly large audience and mentally follow the step-by-step instructions that Sam was giving us. At one point I looked around: Fifty grave heads were slowly nodding as the image of the table grew in our fifty minds.
From Sam Maloof I acquired the idea of sculpting a complete form out of pieces of wood joined or glued together with more wood there than necessary. The form flowed from one piece of wood to the next without particular regard for the glue line.
I got the honor to meet Sam Maloof and his lovely wife Alfreda in 1980. I was installing a custom door for a customer in Aspen Colorado. After the job was complete, I decided to take a drive over to the Anderson Ranch to check out the woodworking school. When I got there, they were setting up for a potluck dinner. I asked what was the occasion? Sam Maloof was giving a one night talk on his work and life as a furniture designer and builder. Can anyone attend this function, I asked? Sure he said. You got something to contribute to the potluck? I sure do. I went to my truck and pulled out a couple of six-packs of fine imported beer I ogianally purchaced to take home with me. I offered this to the potluck. Anyway, I was ecstatic I'm going to meet the master. Sam and his wife were so down to earth. There were intrested in what I was doing as a woodworker, asking a lot of questions. How cool is that. His slide show was superb and educational. Thats my two cents on Sam Maloof and I'm sticking with it.
I posted in my blog and could copy and paste here or just provide the link.
My take isapplied and different than any I've seen. The title is "More tha a Rocker"
I'm a home amateur woodworker. Over the past years, I've seen and read various articles on Sam. Aside from the fact that I love his designs, I remember a comment he made in reply to a question of hand tools vs. power tools. He said he uses whatever tool he needs to get the job done.
When I reach for a belt sander instead of a bench plane, I remember his comment. And I feel good about myself!
Thank you for sharing Mr. Maloof with us.
In 1967, as Western Divisional Manager for Knoll International, I successfully negotiated with Sam to reproduce a number of his more easy to manufacture designs. As I recall, it included a chest, several tables and a dining chair. Things were on track until his wife, Alfreda learned of the conversations. She terminated the conversations and, in the process, maybe caused Sam to become more of a fine artist than he may have been had I been successful in drawing him in to a more commercial orientation. On the other hand, it may have given him more time for creativity which is what Harry Bertoia's designing his famous wire chairs did for him. The financial arrangement he made with Hans Knoll allowed him to become one of the finest artists of his era.
I didn't know Mr. Maloof, I didn't visit his home, and I have never even seen one of his pieces with my own eyes. I have however, read and listened to every single piece of literature/interview/webcast/seminar/whatever that I could get my hands on. In a world of woodworkers undercutting each other on price, in a world of pushy clients and never-ending stress, he is a reminder to me that there is something more to this than making a buck; and money was never my reason for starting on this path.
Thank you, Mr. Maloof.
On Saturday (June 13th) I visited Sam's shop and home. The tour docents were telling of how now with Sam gone they will have no trouble in keeping to the tour schedule. It seems they had a hard time of keep to the schedule as Sam would see a tour group and start talking to them. He would take them into the shop (which isn't on the tour) and show people around. That is the kind of person Sam was. Always interested in people. I am sorry I missed his personal tours.
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In this video Michael finishes the first of the three boxes. Gluing-up, planing, sanding and finishing bring a new piece of art to the world.
In this video Michael starts work on the second box, a carved and painted Saddle lid box.
Michael begins carving the saddle lid box with his ripple pattern along the top. Then turns to his 5/30 gouge to texture the sides of the box. This isn't work…
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