My first chair

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Project by g1hopper posted 05-22-2009 09:16 PM 1823 views 3 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This chair is my first attempt at making a chair of any kind. I actually didn’t have any desire to make a chair until I started seeing more and more people posting chairs on this site and others. They kept crediting their designs to Sam Maloof. Being fairly new to woodworking I started researching. I began to get interested and suddenly I wanted to try making one. I thought about buying plans from one of those out there that sell plans on making a Maloof rocker, however that is not me. I even told my wife one day that I wanted to try to do it myself without any plans.
What you see here is the outcome of my first attempt. It is made with maple and walnut. All the maple used for this chair is reclaimed. The seat is made up of five separate pieces, each cut at 3 degrees per Maloof’s style. I did also get the router bits that are at 3 degrees. All the patterns used to make this chair I designed and created. There are a couple of things I would change but all and all I am please with its outcome. Most importantly my wife loves it.
I enjoined making the chair more then I had thought I would. Now I look forward to make more. I will also try my hands at a rocker one of these days. I believe my next seating adventure will be stools for my bar. I am leaning towards 6 of them.

-- Steve, Omaha, NE

15 comments so far

View CharlieM1958's profile


16275 posts in 4246 days

#1 posted 05-22-2009 09:40 PM

Looks great! You are braver than me.

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

View Jay Neale III's profile

Jay Neale III

171 posts in 3362 days

#2 posted 05-22-2009 09:45 PM

That’s excellent! The wood looks wonderful and I like the design.

But watch out on the bar stools: “leaning” is not a recommended design feature.


-- Read my amazingly insightful blog at

View lew's profile


12102 posts in 3783 days

#3 posted 05-22-2009 11:24 PM

Very Nice!!

I like the contrasting wood colors!

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3336 days

#4 posted 05-23-2009 12:51 AM

Looks too nice to sit on!

View a1Jim's profile


117127 posts in 3605 days

#5 posted 05-23-2009 01:50 AM

Very unique design well done lloks great

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18291 posts in 3704 days

#6 posted 05-23-2009 02:15 AM

Nice work. I haven’t studied Maloof or chairs at all. What do you mean by “each cut at 3 degrees per Maloof’s style”?

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View woodworm's profile


14468 posts in 3619 days

#7 posted 05-23-2009 06:45 AM

Very very nice design.

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 4275 days

#8 posted 05-23-2009 04:38 PM

Very nice looking chair. Very difficult to construct and design.

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

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3701 days

#9 posted 05-23-2009 04:46 PM

Nice looking chair.

View g1hopper's profile


65 posts in 3512 days

#10 posted 05-27-2009 11:37 PM

I was going to answer you yesterday, however while I was searching the www for an illustration that would better explain, I realized that Sam Maloof died last Thursday. That made me sad, as well as distracted me.

The 3 degrees I was referring to is in construction of the seat. There are five separate pieces that make up that seat. When cutting the width of each piece the table saw blade is tilted 3 degrees in such a manner that when they are pulled together, this automatically forms a ‘U’ shape. This gives you a head start at shaping the seat. You can also then begin shaping each piece before you glue them together. I used biscuits when I glued them up. The back legs also have a 3 degree tilt into the bottom of the legs.

I hope this helps you understand. If not, send me a message and I will try to explain better or maybe even take some pictures.

Thanks to all of you for your wonderful compliments.

-- Steve, Omaha, NE

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18291 posts in 3704 days

#11 posted 05-28-2009 06:46 AM

Thanks for the response. I assumed it was used to form the seat to keep from having to remove so much material, but I wasn’t sure.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View rod66's profile


45 posts in 3739 days

#12 posted 06-02-2009 11:48 PM

Great looking Chair! I also have been bitten by the bug to try an build a chair after seeing all the ones posted lately on jocks. Your chair really has inspired me to give it a go. I have a few questions? You say 3 degree router bits in your post. Did you just mean the table saw set to 3 degrees or is there a 3 degree bit out there. If so where did you get yours. Did you have any resources that helped you with the joints, angle of back and legs, and proportions. Any basic advise you have on trying to build your first chair. Finally what type of time frame did this project require. Sorry for all the question and thanks in advance.


View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3613 days

#13 posted 06-03-2009 12:30 AM

Very well done there are lots of people can’t do so well after years of woodworking.You’re going to do well regards Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View g1hopper's profile


65 posts in 3512 days

#14 posted 06-04-2009 03:45 AM

I did mean 3 degree router bits set, for chairs. There is also a 5 degree set, for rockers. However these are not really needed if you don’t care to have the rear legs tilted in. However I want to try it and I like it that way. I purchased both sets as well as the 0 degree bit. To the best of my knowledge the only place to get these is from ( For more info about the bits see this document .

As for the angle of the back and proportions, I would say take a seat. I looked at chairs here and there, and measured a lot of things. I even had my wife sit so I could trace her back while sitting up straight. Other than that, I would say go with what you feel is. If you think it looks good then go with it.

Resources … Where to start? I would say the internet, I researched a lot. One thing led me to another. I purchased the Sam Maloof DVD. It is not a ‘how too’ DVD but I did pick up a lot of things from it. I also asked for a couple of books about him for Christmas, yes this past one. The one that I have finished and also found somewhat helpful was “Sam Maloof, Woodworker” by Sam Maloof. Again I will point out that this is not a ‘How too’ book. It is actually an autobiography.

I hope this all helps. If you have more questions, please do ask. I had fun creating this chair, and don’t mind helping someone else.
Most importantly, have fun with it

-- Steve, Omaha, NE

View gdemo's profile


46 posts in 3336 days

#15 posted 12-22-2009 03:41 PM

Very impressive!

-- I ams what I ams and thats all that I ams...(Popye!)

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