Thursday, February 18, 2010

Great Tool for Sanding Maloof Inspired Rocker Laminations

Some of my hobbies include playing guitar, dobro and own several other string instruments. Recently, I was surfing a supply and tool site for luthiers called Stew-Mac. I saw a tool called "The Luthier's Friend." It was designed to sand small strips of binding or wood that are used to build guitars. It is a vertically mounted drum sander, fence attachment for the drill press.

Just like the rest of you guys, I don't have enough room. My 16-32 Performax drum sander takes up valuable floor space in my shop and costs $900. As a chair maker its only use has been sanding lamination's for rocker sleds. Maybe the Luthiers Friend (it hangs on a peg hook) could sand the few laminations that needed drum sanding and free up some floor space for assembly and carving. After Googling the name of the tool I found some info about the designer and gave him a call.

Ken Picou is a fine woodworker, tool maker and designer ( in Austin, Texas. Ken sent me one to put through the paces.

The Luthier's Friend is a friend to anyone who needs to quickly sand thin strips of wood like my laminations. The operator simply sets the fence to reveal the desired thickness between the fence and the sanding drum. Don't take a big bite(just like the Performax drum sander) and pass the laminations through the opening. The base of the unit provides zero clearance with the bottom edge of the sanding drum (which is also outfitted with a roller guide on the bottom and is called a Roto-Sander). A great little dust control shroud picks up that pesky stuff. Way to go Ken you have a tool that does what it was designed to do. Save money over buying the big drum sander, and valuable space (did I mention it hangs on a peg hook).

The Roto-Sander can be used to duplicate the rocker's back legs from a template without the dangers of router table duplication with a two inch bit. Ouch!

It is available from Highland Woodworking.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

New Patterns and Topographical Carving Studies Help you Build Your Maloof Inspired Rocker

I get a thrill out of seeing the chairs built by my friends. As a life long teacher I never tire of helping others achieve success.

Recently, I have been able to open some new pages on my website ( in Chuck's Studio (named after my brother Quido) that I hope are just the beginning of new ways to utilize the technology available today to teach fine woodworking.

Last summer I was thinking about ways to update the design opportunities once a customer had acquired my instructional bundle. One of my goals was to offer a fairly open design that could be changed with alternative arm, leg spindle and headrest designs that would not alter the original rocker geometry. Woodworkers could build several different models with the same basic joinery and concepts. In other words, keeping it fresh. When my DVD bundle was introduced I had no idea how busy I was going to be with sales and woodworker support, new classes and such. Now I have finally gotten the new arm pattern tested and posted for your use.

Download the pdf onto a SD card, thumb drive or disk. Take it to a business that does wide format printing from a pdf and you have a new arm profile.

The newest item in Chuck's Studio (for member's only) is the first Topographical Carving Study (or TCS as we call it in the trade) Ha!Ha! What is this? I hear you say. It is a tool to help you see the contours of the rocker. It works just like a topographical map in concept (someone will email me and disagree I am sure) The white lines (applied with chalk on a perfectly good rocker) follow the chair's contours with a few notes written in for good measure. Actually the lines demonstrate applied current technology.

I hope you enjoy these new features and that these new tools have utility for you!

Group Rocker Build On Saw Mill Creek Forum

I have enjoyed reading the group build taking place on Saw Mill Creek Woodworker's Forum. It started on November 4, 2009 with a new post by a woodworker wanting to know if anyone new about the Maloof Inspired Rocker bundle and gave my web address. Since then a host of interested woodworkers have started their chairs utilizing the bundle and great support from each other. Every woodworker has a collection of different experiences abilities and shop tools available but they have a common dream. The mutual support helps with work-arounds, questions about how-to's, should I's and what do I do nows. They can also post pictures which you know are worth a thousand words. Check it out!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Seven Day Build Your Maloof Inspired Rocker with Charles Brock Class

On January 12th, five fine woodworkers who journeyed from across the U.S. came to Maloof Inspired Rocker School with Charles Brock at Highland Woodworking in Atlanta. It was total immersion in band sawing, joining, routing, rasping, drilling, bending, gluing and scraping walnut stock into the parts of their dream rocker. Students rotated through stations while my assistant Mark McGowan and I gave whole group and individual instruction on each step of rocker construction.

See Seven Day Class Slideshow Click Here

Highland Woodworking's great staff supplied the class with two band saws which were constantly busy shaping the seats, arms, headrests, legs and seven spindles or "spokes" as one student called them. They each spent lots of bench time carving seven spindles into a matched set with rasps and spokeshaves. There was no log jam at the machines because you could always work on spindles.

Three Festool RAS 115s were used with Festool dust extractors to enable three student at a time to sculpt the contours of their seats without choking on the dust. Students also used Festool Dominos to align and strengthen the coopered seat joints.

Students took turns sawing the notches and dados in their seat to leg joints with a SawStop Table Saw. I said, "The SawStop technology allows safe table saw instruction in a class for the first time! Everybody should have this peace of mind!"

The goals of the class were met and everyone went home with their all parts fitted and shaped. It takes approximately 150 to 200 hours to build a rocker and each had completed the initial 70 hours. They shipped their rockers home knocked down ready to glue-up, shape, scrape and finish in their shop.

A dentist from Buffalo, NY said, "Charles and Mark made the experience more than fabulous. Their info and hospitality are winners. I have been to many dental technique courses--hands on-- and taught at many. This was like the very best of them I am very glad I partook in the course, and am recommending it to some of my woodworker friends."

I am offering another Build Your Maloof Inspired Rocker Class August 3-9. The class is limited to five students and he only has two openings left. The teacher student ratio is 5 to 2 so each student can get full benefit of the instruction as they build their own dream rocker. Contact me at to inquire.