My Maloof inspired rocker

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Project by Marcos posted 534 days ago 1523 views 5 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I finally finished! I started this project 9 months ago after seeing an almost finished rocker in a friends garage. I immediately knew I had to make one. I hope the pictures do it justice…it looks and feels amazing in person.

My friend and mentor has made 13 rockers in his life and I was very fortunate to have his guidance on some of the more complicated parts. He made some templates from some 1970’s fine woodworking magazine articles and I went off of those as best I could. The rasp was my favorite weapon, although a 1/2 inch gouge was not far behind. I visited the Maloof residence about a month ago as the final inspiration to finally finish this monster, and after that, I worked about 30 minutes every day until I finished. At one point making the seat, while drilling holes to establish the depth I had to carve to, the depth stop on the drill press gave way and one of the holes went about 3/4 inch too deep. I thought about plugging it, but opted to carve to a deeper seat. In carving a deeper seat, I actually hit one of the biscuits I had put in when joining the boards!! I almost cried. Fortunately, I hadn’t shaped the seat yet so I was able to cut out a strip, and replace it with another. I used some sapwood to remind me that an error is just an opportunity and that’s why you can see a lighter stripe through the middle of the seat. I can’t wait to get started on a set of low back chairs for my enclosed patio.

It is made entirely of walnut, with some ebony plugs for accents. I used mostly Titebond 2 and 3, except for the laminated rockers, where I used Dap Weldwood plastic resin glue. It is sanded to 320 and finished with 4 coats of Daly’s Seafin Teak Oil.

Thank you Sam Maloof for the inspiration. Thank you Ed Smet for the education. And thank you Lumber Jocks for the community that understands what I’m feeling right now.

-- Marcos, California

16 comments so far

View gfadvm's profile


10429 posts in 1276 days

#1 posted 534 days ago

You did a beautiful job on this rocker. I think I’m the only LJ that hasn’t attempted/done a Maloof rocker! I just need more confidence. I can only hope mine is half as nice as yours. I don’t own a rasp or a gouge so better put those on the list. I guess all power tools won’t work! LOL

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View BigRedKnothead's profile


4283 posts in 568 days

#2 posted 534 days ago

Jeepers, that’s awesome. A Maloof chair is on my bucket list. I don’t have the skill to pull that off as of yet.

-- Red -- "The two most important days of your life are the day you are born and the day you find out WHY." -Mark Twain

View DouginVa's profile


486 posts in 859 days

#3 posted 534 days ago

Good wood selection and the headrest has some very nice figure to it.

-- Just a man with his chisel.........

View Woodbridge's profile


2547 posts in 1004 days

#4 posted 534 days ago

Beautiful rocker. It looks great. I know how you feel when carving a seat and carving into the biscuits. I’ve been there to.

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

View bugz's profile


773 posts in 1249 days

#5 posted 534 days ago

Quite the journey, a very beautiful rocker. I am giving my first one a go, in between projects. Thanks for the insperation, thanks for sharing, Bob

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

View nurvreck's profile


70 posts in 1456 days

#6 posted 533 days ago

That is an awesome chair. I think your reasoning for using the sapwood is great. Good job!

-- Dan, Sgt/USMC, Jacksonville, NC,

View a1Jim's profile


111999 posts in 2163 days

#7 posted 533 days ago

Beautiful chair ,great job.

-- Custom furniture

View bouati's profile


27 posts in 539 days

#8 posted 533 days ago

good job

View Peter1's profile


14 posts in 589 days

#9 posted 533 days ago

Fantastic, great to see such a good result

View CatholicWoodworker's profile


20 posts in 590 days

#10 posted 533 days ago

Awesome job. I have always admired the craftsmanship of those who are able to make that rocker.

-- "What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway." -Mother Teresa

View david38's profile


999 posts in 929 days

#11 posted 533 days ago

very nice

View lanwater's profile


3070 posts in 1520 days

#12 posted 533 days ago

You did an amazing work and produced a beautifull rocker.
The joint in the picture is almost invisible.

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

View HalDougherty's profile


1820 posts in 1823 days

#13 posted 533 days ago

Beautiful job on the rocker! I’m impressed!

-- Hal, Tennessee

View mbs's profile


1418 posts in 1526 days

#14 posted 533 days ago

Outstanding work. Love the wood too. Is there some english walnut in it?

I had a similar experience in my first rocker except my leopardwood headboard broke in half when I was glueing it between the back legs. UGH! It took me about as long to repair it as make a new one.

I have some spalted walnut that I’m using on my current rocker seat. I put wood hardener in the soft areas but when i hit it with the grinder/ it cut to deep. Not sure what I’ll do to fix it yet.

Which chairs are you making?

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

View Joemcorbett's profile


5 posts in 533 days

#15 posted 532 days ago

Very well done.

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