I thought folks might be interested in seeing the steps that I take to make a Maloof style rocker. Perhaps after seeing how it isn’t really all that difficult to make one it might give encouragement to try and make one yourselves.
These steps are for a mahogany rocker that I’ve finished.
Started with quite a large slab of mahogany. This photo is after cutting 4 ft. from 1 end.
This is 1 of many templates I use. I don’t have to do any measuring for many of the necessary cuts. Below is the seat template.
Here is the seat with the groove made for the sculpted seat edge and the leg cutouts. The holes are depth holes that I use as guides to tell me how low I can sculpt the seat -I use a another template for this.
The Maloof leg joints are fairly simple. Just a bit tough for me to explain.
You first dado out the seat cutouts on the tablesaw holding the seat on edge. The seat will look like the template shown earlier. Then using a 3/8” rabbet bit you route out the top and bottom of the seat. The seat tongue remaining should be equal to the top and bottom total rabbet height.
For the front legs you make the legs the width of the rabbeted cutout. Then dado the legs the same width and depth as the seat tongue.
Holes are drilled in the headrest bottom and the seat for the slats. Then I dryfit the slats into the seat and headrest and clamp the headrest to the back legs to see how everything goes together.
If everything is good, while the headrest is clamped in the center I counterbore and drill the holes in the leg sides for securing the headrest to the legs. (I don’t have a good photo of this)
Then in 1 glueup operation; I put epoxy into the seat and headrest holes, the backslat ends, the headrest ends and the inside of the leg tops where they mate with the headrest. Insert the slats into the seat holes, put the headrest over the slat tops and get the headrest between the backlegs. Finally, screw the legs to the the headrest.
At this stage you’ve got basically a complete chair without rockers. It’s a good time to smooth out the joints and apply the ebony plugs and sand away.
The rockers are made of 5 laminations approx 1/4” thick done on a form similiar to the one for the backslats.
I rough cut the leg ends and I can sit the chair on the rockers to see how it rocks. I might make a couple more cuts to get the right feel for the rocking.
Once satisfied I attach sticky sandpaper to the rockers and by using the rockers as my sanding block I get a pretty good fit.
That’s just about it. Now comes a lot of final shaping and smoothing and then you’re ready to apply the finish.