Sam Maloof Inspired Walnut Sculptured Rocker
Completing a Maloof inspired rocking chair has been on my to-do list for about 18 months now and I purchased the walnut for it about a year ago. I’m giving this one to my son. I have built two other rockers so far; one based on David Haigs dream rocker and the other based on Charles Rohlfs rocking chair ( a gift for my daughter). Maloof’s rocker is one of a handful of “iconic” chairs and completing a Maloof style rocker seems like a necessary step (a rite of a passage of sorts) as I continue to learn the skills and techniques of chair making.
I must admit I approached this one with a bit of trepidation; it seems like such a challenging chair to build. Seeing all the wonderful Maloof rockers built by so many other woodworkers continued to provide the incentive for me to give it a try.
I don’t have the discipline to keep track of how much time I spend on a project, but I know this one took a lot of time. There were so many new techniques to learn and a much higher attention to detail and finish than I have done previously; all part of the learning process. I really pushed myself to have the patience to sand and sand and sand, then polish and polish and polish the wood with polishing pads (that both Charles Brock and Hal Taylor recommend). The wood is silky smooth and burnished and it really makes finishing with several coats of oil a joy.
I hope to complete seven or eight chairs this first year of my retirement. I’ve just started a reproduction of Rohlfs Tall Back Chair and I am simultaneously working on another Rohlfs 1898 Desk Chair.
After that I hope to attempt another David Haig Dream Rocker and learn about steam bending (the air dried white oak is in the garage waiting for me to get to it. Finally I have some sketches for an updated version of my earlier three legged chair. Building another Maloof inspired rocker is definitely on my list for next year.