Maloof Memories: Ronald J. Dean
Passing the style from generation to generation
I have always built wood projects, from high school woodshop on. But when my best friend, Darrell, went to the Maloof shop on a tour, he was so excited, and also turned me onto Sam’s style. He found out about the Palomar College Cabinet and Furniture Technology Woodworking program in San Marcos, Calif. So we enrolled and made the trip up once a week from El Cajon, about a 120 mile round trip, specifically to learn how to make rocking chairs in his style.
Darrell was in his 80’s and I had retired, so I was elected to drive. We got great instruction at Palomar, bought Sam’s books, and then ventured out on our own to make many chairs and rocking chairs. Darrell had some old black oak wood from his brother’s place up on Palomar Mountain. He took all the good wood, and I got the rejects. So my idea was to fill in the worm holes and cracks with a ground turquoise matrix. The photo shows the results.
I have enjoyed making these rocking chairs in walnut, mesquite, oak and cherry, so far. I’ve experimented with modifications to the style, and fitting them to the size of the person for which they are designed. Sam’s generosity in sharing his designs is so greatly appreciated. We’ll miss him and his creativity and productivity. Darrell has passed now, and I am getting less able to work in the shop, but want to share my knowledge and skills with a younger generation, teaching my sons and friends this marvelous Maloof style.