My Maloof Inspired Rocker

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Project by Mike Shea posted 10-12-2008 08:40 AM 6529 views 16 times favorited 35 comments Add to Favorites Watch





Some of you may know I have spent the last few months designing and building a Maloof style rocker. Now when i say designing. I do not mean that i designed anything that has not already been thought of before. What i mean is that i had no plans, dimensions or templates to work from. Wich made this a verry challenging project to say the least.

Before starting the project i spent weeks reading all of Sams books and movies. I also spent a great deal of time looking at chairs made by other people. I came across more than a few that were exceptionally pleasing to my eye. Especially one chair that was made by a Lumberjocks member his name was

Mark A. Decou I thought that his chair was one of the most atractive chairs i had seen yet. Besides Sam Maloofs chair that is. I recieved allot of guidance from Mark when i was stuck on certain things. He was a great deal of help and i want to thank him once again. i have also recieved allot of help from many different people on this site. its verry satisfying to know that there are so many people out there all over the world that care and share interest in the things that i am doing. especially
TODD hes the nicest guy ever and a verry talented artist. when someone of that caliber compliments your work its a verry overwhelming felling. Thanks TODD. another man who was of great help to me was bill Kapell. Bill is another verry talented rocking chair maker. when i needed to know something he had the answer and i thank him for that. anyways enough with the shout outs back to the chair

the rocking chair was a gift to some friends of mine who just recently had a beautifull baby girl. this project was a great opertunity for me to give the the gift of everlasting comfort to a new family. it was also a great way for me to challenge my woodworking skills. my fiance and i dropped the chair off at thier house just a few hours ago. i watched them sit in the chair for the verry first time as they rocked thier newborn girl. it was the most gratifying feeling in the world to see that. it was hard to let go of something that i worked so hard on but i new it was going to a family that was more then deserving. besides i can go look at it whenever i want. lol

It was made from 2 large slabs of figured walnut. all the seat joints were done the traditional way. the seat and legs were first dadoed, then rabbeted and pegged with 3/8” Padauk dowels. i went so far as to even turn the dowels on the lathe. everything was first rough cut on the bandsaw. then eventually shaped with rasps. after rasping with my finest file i used a cabinet scraper to take out all the visible crathches. i then sanded thru all the grits ending with 600 grit paper. the rockers were done by laminating 3/16” strips of walnut and padauk into a bending form. i used urea formaldehyde resin glue for the bent lamination procces. as for the finish i laid down base coat of linseed oil. i then aplied a thin sealer coat of formbys tung oil. after lightly sanding with 0000 steel wool i laid down the final 2 coats of tung oil mixed with a touch of varathane and beezwax.

-- i can do all things through christ who strengthens me

35 comments so far

View woodworm's profile


14468 posts in 3589 days

#1 posted 10-12-2008 08:45 AM

Great job. This is really a very fine woodwork.
I like the finish colour very much.

Take care and work safe.

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

View Chris 's profile


1879 posts in 3989 days

#2 posted 10-12-2008 09:57 AM

Outstanding work mike! God bless.

-- "Everything that is great and inspiring is created by the individual who labors in freedom" -- Albert Einstein

View motthunter's profile


2141 posts in 3797 days

#3 posted 10-12-2008 11:24 AM

what a beauty. congrats

-- making sawdust....

View TedM's profile


2002 posts in 3731 days

#4 posted 10-12-2008 11:36 AM


-- I'm a wood magician... I can turn fine lumber into firewood before your very eyes! - Please visit and sign up for my project updates!

View tpastore's profile


105 posts in 3814 days

#5 posted 10-12-2008 12:36 PM

I have always considered a Maloof rocker the brass ring of woodworking. You sir, just grabbed it!

View jaxx's profile


66 posts in 3515 days

#6 posted 10-12-2008 01:53 PM

stunning piece of work.

View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4216 days

#7 posted 10-12-2008 03:19 PM

Congratulations, Mike. This chair is truly an outstanding accomplishment!

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

4024 posts in 4062 days

#8 posted 10-12-2008 03:32 PM

What tpastore said! That seat detail in the third photo is excellent, and the stripes in the glue up are pretty cool too. I also want to comment on the photography. You’ve done a masterful job here Mike.

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over a decade.

View rtb's profile


1101 posts in 3711 days

#9 posted 10-12-2008 03:44 PM

Beautiful !!

-- RTB. stray animals are just looking for love

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 4245 days

#10 posted 10-12-2008 03:49 PM

Mike, you are an inspiration to me and a lot of others on this site that don’t know what they can do until they try, I know Mark D. has that affect on you. He has the ability to encourage and guide in an exceptional manner, as he has with me before. The chair is beautiful and I don’t know of any that I’ve seen any better. What a gift of love and respect to give to someone. They must be true friends. God Bless,

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View Dennis Zongker's profile

Dennis Zongker

2734 posts in 3590 days

#11 posted 10-12-2008 04:49 PM

Sweet looking Chair!

-- Dennis Zongker

View gbear's profile


512 posts in 4097 days

#12 posted 10-12-2008 05:33 PM

Absolutely gorgeous…I’m very impressed and envious!

-- gbear, Carmichael, CA

View Denappy's profile


116 posts in 3680 days

#13 posted 10-12-2008 06:36 PM

Truly a stunning piece of work, outstanding workmanship and attention to detail!

-- -=Den

View Mike Shea's profile

Mike Shea

152 posts in 3992 days

#14 posted 10-12-2008 06:42 PM

Thanks a lot guys. i really apreciate all the great compliments. my fiance just demanded that i let everybody know that the red padauk stripes and plugs were her idea. i wanted to do something more traditional such as ebony or maple. she suggested that i step outside of my traditional lifestyle and try something alitle diferent. she walked over to my scrap drawer and pulled out the padauk . i told her that i dont run a… i was unsure about it at first…. when the chair was all said and done i was glad that i listened to my wife. something i will only ocasionally do.

-- i can do all things through christ who strengthens me

View mreza's profile


71 posts in 3526 days

#15 posted 10-12-2008 07:44 PM

Very nice! Excellent job

I love this design of rocker and have wanted to build one myself.
one day….

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