Sunday, November 30, 2008

Updates Website Changes and Improvements

Thanks to all of you who have taken a class, purchased plans, inquired about my services or visited the website. The website has had over 30,000 hits in 2 1/2 months! Wow!

An individual's interest in building a Maloof Inspired chair started out for most of us with the first glance of one in FWW or another magazine. It has grown from a "Bucket List," project to an obsession with many of us because of its artistry. Sam Maloof gave us the joinery, the perceived comfort, the hard and soft lines and the chair's sense of perpetual motion. As we search for our own success in building a Maloof Inspired rocker, My hope is that you find something of interest here.

I owe a lot to the great people at Highland Woodworking (their link is on every page). They actually made all of this possible for me. Chris Bagby and the knowledgeable, personable staff can help you make your woodworking dreams come true, too. Their catalog, tool offerings, website, workshops, classes and store all work together to make their mission of building a woodworking community a wonderful success. Even though no craftsman has only one source they are my first choice and have been for almost 30 years.

Please welcome Peach State Lumber to my site as a sponsor. Burt and the gang in Kennesaw, GA provide an answer to the question, "Where do you get your wood?" I use black walnut and they stock it (in the rough) in all grades and thicknesses (4/4 to 12/4 ). They even have 8/4 Common #1's and 2's which are perfect for chairmaking. Sam says that commons have the most interesting grain and color. The great thing is that common boards costs less. They deliver in Georgia or you can go to there warehouse and look through every board to find the perfect one. Wow!

I hope you enjoy the improvements to the website. Scott Isaacs of Isaacs Creative has been working on my dream for this site. He is doing a great job and it's taking shape.

The growth spurt that I am hoping the site to see is is still six months away. As some of you know I am serving my thirtieth and final year as a public school teacher and will finally have a fulltime focus on teaching Maloof Inspired chair classes around the country along, designing new chairs, building chairs for clients, writing articles and producing videos.

The videoplayer has been updated to a multi-player format. I can add tool and how-to videos associated with building sculptured rocking chairs to the new player. They will accumulate into a library or resource for craftsman who have an interest in this type of chair. I will also post other messages or updates of interest to the videoplayer.

The resources page will soon be filled with links to those resources a sculptured chairmaker needs to be successful plus a few I just like.

If you would like to link your site to mine check out the banner trade information.

If you have taken a workshop or purchased plans, please email pictures for a student gallery I hope to have soon!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Maloof Inspired Rocking ChairTool List

The tool list for sculptured chair making is something I will revise several times a year. It will also be a part of the revised construction boolet for my classes and sold as a companion with plans for the rocker.

Every woodworking project has a core list of tools that are necessary for efficient, high quality work.My wife would like for all of my projects to be really "hand-made". This would save a lot of money and space. But, alas if I have a tool that will perform a necessary function perfectly (ha, ha), I have a keeper! I have hundreds of keepers when I can find them. Sam Maloof says, "You don't need alot of fancy tools to build sculptured furniture." Some tools are necessities, while others make it a more pleasureable, productive experience.

I will divide these tools into the proper categories and give primary (1) and alternative tools (2) as well. My personal choice is also given for each tool.

Preparing Stock:
Bandsaw -14" or larger See my three part video on choosing a bandsaw. 20 Inch Agazzani
Jointer An 8" model is better especially when preparing stock for a 7" wide crest rail. 8" Grizzly
Table Saw - A 3HP Cabinet Saw with a good fence makes preparing 8/4 and 10/4 stock a lot easier. Powermatic 66
Planer This is a necessity for thicknessing parts, unless you are very good with hand planes. Dewalt 13"

Producing Parts from a Template: back legs, spindles
Bandsaw with a 3/8 or 1/4 - 3TPI blade Starrett Silicone Carbide Cut within 1/16 inch of the line.
Router Table w/2" spiral cutting upcut, copy bit with bearing ( The bearing rides against the plywood template fastened to the top of the work piece.)
Stationary Belt Sander with articulating work table - 80 grit belt - It is used to flatten, square or fare curves that you can't work effectively with the router table. Delta

Coopering the Saddle:
Jointer- Used for beveling the seat boards.
Festool Domino(1)- Dominoes give support between seat boards. Dowels can be used requiring a horizontal drill press (2) or Shopsmith(2), biscuits can work for alignment purposes.(2)
Bandsaw for wasting the the seat boards' profile before glue up.
Grinder is used with a Kutzall (blue) donut shaped cutter to shape the saddle after glue up.
A Festool Rotex Sander (1) with 24 grit paper, hooked up to a dust collector is my choice for cleaning up after the grinder and then working through the grits to finish the seat shaping. A Makita 4 1/2" grinder (2)

Maloof Type Bridle Joinery:
Router Bosch 2 1/4 HP
Freud 3/4 inch radius x 1/2 inch w/ 1/2" shank router bit
Freud 3/4 roundover bit (the radius of these two bits must match)
Table Saw
Crosscut Sled
Veritas Lee Valley Side Rabbet Plane (new)is used to clean up the sides of the rabbets for a good fit.
Small Router Plane (1) (Lie-Nielsen) is used to finish cut the depth of the rabbets for a good fit.
A block of wood with 100 grit sandpaper is also a necessity for fitting the joint.

Layout/Marking Tools:
Colored Pencils: White, Red, Black
No.2 Pencils, Sharpies, Chalk
Marking Knife, Dividers, Tape Measure, Yardstick, Rule, Squares, Protractor, Bevel Boss, Sliding Bevel

Front Legs:
Table Saw
Lathe - 1" Roughing Gouge, Lathe Chuck w/ 1/2" Drill Bit

Shaping Tools:

Grinder w/ Kutzall, Die Grinder w/ Various Burrs and Rasps, Router w/ 3/4" and 1 1/4" Roundover Bits
Rasps by Auriou - #'s 5, 8, 10, 14 Assorted Sizes, Needle files and rasps (assorted)
Microplane - All sizes and shapes
Spokeshaves - Flat by Daves Shaves, Radiused Brian Boggs (Lie-Nielsen)
Scrapers - Various sizes and Shapes (Highland Woodworking's set about $40) and light and heavy full size scrapers
Emmert Patternmakers Vise

Making the Rockers
Bandsaw for resawing laminates for rockers or 2)Table saw with glue joint rip blade
Performax sander for precision sanding of the laminates before glue-up.
Lots of 10" C Clamps (12)

Sandpaper - 60 thru 400 grit sandpaper for handsanding, 24 thru 400 discs for Festool. 80 thru 400 grit 2" wave discs and interface pads w/ 2" drill attachment pad
3M Pads - Maroon, Gray and White

Veritas Tenon Cutters - 3/8 and 1/2' Used by hand for shaping spindle tenons
Block Plane - Lie-Nielsen

I am always adding to this list and finding improved methods which may cause me to delete some tools.

Let me know if you have suggestions!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Build A Maloof Inspired Class at Highland Woodworking was a Blast!

July 11-13 at Highland Woodworking in Atlanta, Georgia students came from all over the U.S. to study the Maloof rocker design and learn to build their own version. It was a delight to see all of the interest and to experience the enthusiasm for the chair.

Cecil Cheves not only superbly assisted me during the workshop, he loaned one of the chairs I built for his family so all could see, touch and rock. I must admit that the greatest thrill I get from making the chairs is the smile I see when someone sits in it and rocks.

Friday night we spent three hours studying the chairs' function and appearance. We analyzed the joinery, hard and soft lines, finish and critical elements that cause the Maloof Inspired rocker to exceed all requirements of function and appearance. A student described the spindle support system as "Recaro" (Italian designer's term), meaning curved support around thelumbar area of your back.

The Saturday and Sunday demos centered on the construction of a coopered seat, seat joinery, gluing the sled laminations on the form, bandsawing the arms, etc. It was a busy time.

I have attached some pictures from the classes for all to enjoy. I made some great new friends, learned a lot and in general had a blast working with people who have the same passion for this craft.

Thanks to all who attended along with the outstanding staff at Highland Woodworking.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Maloof Inspired Rocking Chair News

I am teaching a workshop on designing and building a Maloof Inspired rocking Chair at Highland Woodworking on July 11,12,13. Building this chair is a great joy and being able to share it with my woodworking friends will be, as always, a rewarding experience.

The rocker requires a lot of thought and work, but I think most woodworkers can handle this project with a thoughtful presentation of the knowledge and skills required. This workshop is not about me. I am no guru but I am an educator with almost thirty years experience and a furniture maker/designer with in excess of 200 commissions over the last 28 years. I want to teach you how to make the chair. If you are interested you will also learn how to publicize your talents for profit.

The greatest obstacle to making the chair is the intricate seat to leg joinery. I can teach you to make the joints without special router bits using a table saw and router w/ regular rabbet and round-over bits.

You will also learn what tools to buy and how to use them. You don't need a huge bandsaw. I built a lot of chairs and furniture using a Jet 14 inch saw and the correct blades. About two years ago I finally purchased a 20" Agazzani because I started working with a lot of walnut slabs, but I could build the chair with a 12" saw and the right blades.

Check out my chair pictures and posts and I will try to add to this sight weekly.
To register for the class call Highland Woodworking
(404) 872-4466 or register online at

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Layout and Rough Cut the Parts

I layout the plywood templates on the slabs and look for grain orientation and color. The trick is to balance color, figure and grain continuity from part to part. For example, the backlegs should match and grain should flow nicely into the parts
the with which theyare joined. This is very evident in the flow of the back legs into the crest rail. In the end you must use every board foot to its best advantage.

When working with slabs you have more choices to make over working with boards which can be very advantageous. The only drawback is the slabs usually are not graded and splits are more common.
To analyze the color and grain from rough slabs, you have to sometimes scrape, plane or sand to remove enough of the surface to make decisions concerning its use. Another trick is to mist water or dentured alcohol to see the wood to its advantage.

As you see I have rough cut a lot of parts.
Tune in for the next post which I will title "Saddling Up."