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After my colleague, associate editor Steve Scott, stumbled across a brilliant National Geographic documentary on George Nakashima, I couldn’t help myself. Trolling around the internet I ran across a piece on Sam Maloof that’s just as insightful. You don’t get much better than watching the master himself chat it up about his craft while seated in one of his signature rockers.
More on Maloof
Reflections on a Master Maker
Looking Back on Sam Maloof
Maloof on Building Chairs
I’ve always found Maloof’s manner of working with tools to be of interest-be it the way he freehands organic shapes at the bandsaw or the one-handed routing that just gives me the willies every time I see it (see minute 9:06). The guy really did have his own style-but just in the work he produced but in the very way he produced it. Perhaps that’s a result of the fact that he never had a single day of woodworking education in his life. Everything Maloof learned about working wood, he learned on his own, through trial and error.
This video dates back to 1982, and it’s dated to be sure, but woodworking is timeless-you’ll learn just as much by listening to Sam Maloof 30 years ago as you might listening to Roy Underhill today. Enjoy!
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It was through Fine Woodworking that I first learned of the work of Sam Maloof's work. Along with influence of Maloof and George Nakashima I learned to let the wood dictate where and what it would be in the pieces I built. After seeing pieces built by Sam Maloof I never looked at a piece of wood the same way again. They say that we have to be careful of the footsteps we leave behind. Well Sam certainly left some beautiful footprints with each piece of his work.
More than a great woodworker, Sam was a great, humble individual who seemed to have his priorities in the right order.
I met Sam Maloof two times. What a great inspiration. He was a very humble person. I will always remember his smile and kindness. He made a difference in my life. Always, RIP Sam.....
Many thanks for allowing us to view this Sam Maloof video. Sam was the biggest influence in my woodworking life. This video shows us a generous human being who revealed everything about his woodworking talent to anyone who would care to learn of his work. Rest in peace, Sam!
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