Hickory Maloof Style Rocker

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Project by Pwilhelm posted 10-05-2016 05:45 PM 1157 views 3 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


678 posts in 1992 days

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

Beautiful work, what plans are you using for these?

View Lazyman's profile


2707 posts in 1626 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


1657 posts in 3178 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


6915 posts in 3386 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 -- "Don't give up the ship -- fight her 'till she sinks!" Capt James Lawrence USN

View oldrivers's profile


1519 posts in 1805 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


10 posts in 838 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


13606 posts in 3106 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


2131 posts in 3392 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 HalfShirt's profile


31 posts in 1119 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


6378 posts in 3242 days

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

Look wonderful, love the wood choices

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View Bobsboxes's profile


1369 posts in 2902 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


148 posts in 2041 days

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

Love seeing this in hickory, stunning.

-- -- Tyson

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