Hickory Maloof Style Rocker

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Project by Pwilhelm posted 10-05-2016 05:45 PM 570 views 2 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

While I continued the sanding/finishing process on the Ambrosia Maple rocker, I bought a few pieces of 8/4 hickory to begin construction of another Maloof style chair, this time with no direct help from my brother Mwilhelm This one was built in September and October of 2015, in the interest of trying to sell it near where I lived at the time, Farmington, NM.

I like the clean, light-colored hickory grain and the subtle curl ripples in some of this material. Accents are walnut, of course. Initially the hardness of the hickory annoyed me because of all the effort required in sanding and care required to prevent burning when cutting, etc. Eventually I decided I liked the hardness since it was easier to get the shape you wanted with the grinder and sander without having a momentary random-orbital sanding mistake make a big mess as it would with a softer wood. It’s a good learning wood, I guess.

The previous Ambrosia maple chair seat was assembled with a 7 degree seat bevel, using 5 seat boards. I felt like it was a little too deep of a bowl, so on this hickory chair, I went back to the more standard 5 degree cuts. I’m a fairly narrow person, so it turns out the more bowl-like seat fits me better and when I sit on this hickory one now, I feel like I’m sitting on a bench. Wider folk may prefer the flatter seat so as not to feel too constricted?

My finishing process began with several coats of Minwax Tung Oil Finish, sanding with 200 grit paper every second or third coat. Then I switched to using 320 grit for a light sanding after every other coat of finish. After a few of those, I built a few coats without sanding, and used 1500 grit paper and a little bit of water on a paper towel for a super-smooth wet sanding effect. Another couple coats, and wet sand again. I may have been a little too aggressive at a few points, because even though you may feel like 1500 grit paper won’t take off all the finish, the water makes the paper cut much faster and not load with finish. A couple coats of well-rubbed Howard’s Feed-n-Wax finished it off. In total, there are probably 15-20 coats of finish on it, but it was still not enough to completely fill the grain.

I only half-heartedly tried to sell the chair, and as we started packing up to move back home to Ohio, I decided to bring it back to give to my grandparents, so I still visit the chair frequently.

12 comments so far

View Notw's profile


444 posts in 1176 days

#1 posted 10-05-2016 08:32 PM

Beautiful work, what plans are you using for these?

View Lazyman's profile


618 posts in 810 days

#2 posted 10-05-2016 10:38 PM

Very nicely done. I’ve been using some small pieces of hickory I mill myself and I love it.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View mbs's profile


1601 posts in 2362 days

#3 posted 10-05-2016 10:44 PM

Beautiful rocker! I love hickory too.

-- Sorry the reply is so long. I didn't have time to write a short reply.

View Mean_Dean's profile


4946 posts in 2570 days

#4 posted 10-05-2016 11:58 PM

Well, it’s a beautiful chair! I like the figure in the hickory—very nice looking!

-- Dean

View oldrivers's profile


711 posts in 989 days

#5 posted 10-06-2016 12:00 AM

Beautiful rocker! I love those type chairs, the hickory looks great!

-- Soli Deo gloria!

View Pwilhelm's profile


4 posts in 22 days

#6 posted 10-06-2016 01:09 AM

The patterns we have used for these came from Bill Kappel in Ephraim, UT. He is definitely a master of rocking chair artistry. Thanks all for your kind comments.

View majuvla's profile


8714 posts in 2290 days

#7 posted 10-06-2016 09:51 AM

Great work. Now they got duplicated. Just keep on in the same rytham.

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View ohwoodeye's profile


1712 posts in 2576 days

#8 posted 10-06-2016 02:43 PM

Absolutely stunning. Sam would be proud.
Well done.

-- Directions are just the Manufacturer's opinion on how something should be assembled. ----Mike, Waukesha, WI

View swesson's profile


11 posts in 303 days

#9 posted 10-06-2016 06:34 PM

Now that’s a piece of craftsmanship. Very nice.

-- Why is there never enough time to do it right, but always enough time to do it over?

View NormG's profile


5434 posts in 2426 days

#10 posted 10-06-2016 11:54 PM

Look wonderful, love the wood choices

-- Norman

View Bobsboxes's profile


1093 posts in 2086 days

#11 posted 10-07-2016 12:51 AM

Great piece, hickory to boot, I always wondered if you could tame enough hickory to build a chair.

-- Bob in Montana. Kindness is the Language the blind can see and deaf can hear. - Mark Twain

View TysonK's profile


121 posts in 1225 days

#12 posted 10-15-2016 11:26 PM

Love seeing this in hickory, stunning.

-- -- Tyson

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