suggestions for a finish on my completed maloof rocker

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Forum topic by Mike Shea posted 10-08-2008 01:54 AM 1715 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Mike Shea

152 posts in 4260 days

10-08-2008 01:54 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question

Some of you may know I have spent the last few months designing and building a Maloof style rocker. Now when i say designing. I do not mean that i designed anything that has not already been thought of before. What i mean is that i had no plans, dimensions or templates to work from. Wich made this a verry challenging project to say the least.

Before starting the project i spent weeks reading all of Sams books and movies. I also spent a great deal of time looking at chairs made by other people. I came across more than a few that were exceptionally pleasing to my eye. Especially one chair that was made by a Lumberjocks member his name was

Mark A. Decou I thought that his chair was one of the most atractive chairs i had seen yet. Besides Sam Maloofs chair that is. I recieved allot of guidance from Mark when i was stuck on certain things. He was a great deal of help and i want to thank him once again. i have also recieved allot of help from many different people on this site. its verry satisfying to know that there are so many people out there all over the world that care and share interest in the things that i am doing. especially
TODD hes the nicest guy ever and a verry talented artist. when someone of that caliber compliments your work its a verry overwhelming felling. Thanks TODD. anyways enough with the shout outs back to my question.

The chair that i have been working on is now done and ready for a finish. Finishing isnt exactly something that i have been good at. Its for a mother and her child so baby safe is a neccesity. Although i do know that once any finish is cured its safe. I still want to be selective. Its made out of walnut and parts are verry highly figured so i would like to bring that out as much as possible. I want it to look verry natural yet with as much protection as possible. I thought about Linseed Oil, Tung Oil and Polly. However i dont know the proper mixture, cure time or aplication proccess. Also waxes such as beez wax, past wax, parafin. Maybey Shellac. Shit i dont know what to chose. There are so many options. That is why i am coming to you and asking everyones opinion. There might be a finish or technique that i am not familliar with. Afterall i did spend allot of time making this thing….....i plan to do the same for the finish.

Thank you everybody for your help and i hope to post the pictures some time this week.

-- i can do all things through christ who strengthens me

4 replies so far

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

4036 posts in 4329 days

#1 posted 10-08-2008 06:02 AM

I can’t wait to see the finished product, and would like to echo the praise you’ve given Mark DeCou and Todd Clippinger, two very talented gentlemen who have added immeasurably to this site. Todd has been specifically the soul of kindness to me personally, and I hope he will some day again grace Pam and I with another visit to our home. I know that he has reached out to Blake as well to provide design assistance and guidance. Peace, love and woodworking in action.

From what I recall, doesn’t Maloof use a varnish oil with a beeswax final coat. I know there is a line of finishes that bears Sam’s name, but I think they made some changes to his original formula.

”...we use my own finish that Rockler sells – one third glossy varnish, one third boiled linseed oil, one third tung oil. I use that on everything, tabletops and all,” he said.


There is a homebrew recipe on that web page. I think a wet-sanded varnish oil blend would be the way to provide protection, give the “in the wood” look of a Maloof piece and allow for easier touch up and repair should it be required down the road on your heirloom piece. It also provide a very nice tactile experience when sanded in with P600 grit auto paper. As you noted, you don’t need to use a food grade finish even though this is intended for use with an infant. Once cured I’m sure that the chair could withstand a little gnawing on without causing the baby any harm. And the addition of a bee's wax polish will give it a little more protection in the end.

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over a decade.

View NY_Rocking_Chairs's profile


528 posts in 3863 days

#2 posted 10-08-2008 11:02 AM

I use Deft Danish Natural oil. Though it is getting harder and harder to find, at least on the East coast. I tell my customers to use an oil-based furniture polish, usually I just give them a quart of the Deft which will last them a life-time, and to do a light cover and wipe down every 6 months or so. That maintains the shine for as long as they re-apply the oil and still presents the natural feel of the wood.

The deft is what was recommended by Hal Taylor and some other chair people…

Good luck.

-- Rich, anybody want a peanut?

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Mike Shea

152 posts in 4260 days

#3 posted 10-08-2008 07:37 PM

Well thanks guys. In Response to “NYRC” i use deft danish oil all the time. i love that stuff. if the chair were for me i would probably use just that. however i have noticed that over the past few weeks the chair has gotten really banged up. just from being moved on and of the workbench. i cant imagine what it would look like after 5 to 10 years of being rocked and sat in, with belts, wallets and buttons scratching against the seat. wallnut is a verry soft hardwood when compared to others. especially in certain ares where the figure is shown. disease got to certain parts and left a beautifull patern but also left not so dense wood behind.

Wich is why i wanted to go with something thats almost like a catalyst finish. is that correct? i think catalized finish is something that reacts to the air and hardens on top. someone correct me if i am wrong. anyways. something like what Douglas said. that finish should leave it looking verry natural and at the same time i believe the polly and tung oil will catalyze and leave a thin amber shield of protection.

Thanks doug. so you think that the mixture is all equal parts? do i apply with a rag do you think? and where can i get beez wax.

-- i can do all things through christ who strengthens me

View Mike Shea's profile

Mike Shea

152 posts in 4260 days

#4 posted 10-08-2008 11:19 PM

well times up>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>.. im done sanding and i am going to put down a base coat of boiled linseed oil for now. i have been experimenting with equal parts linseed, tung, and polly on a scrap board. i laid down two coats of that mix a few hours ago. it dosnt seem to want to harden or build the way i thought it would. i read somewhere that said that mixture requires lots and lots of coats and long periods for dry times. any help would be great. thanx

-- i can do all things through christ who strengthens me

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