My Maloof lowback #1: Its on!

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Blog entry by Antti posted 01-29-2012 10:31 AM 5068 reads 10 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of My Maloof lowback series Part 2: Joint effort »

After reading Maloof’s book last summer, I ordered the DVD and templates from Scott Morrison, claiming the lowback to be my “winter project”. Now its (actually “they” as I’m making a pair) on the way as I officially have completed the first few steps:

Glued the templates on plywood, cut out with a bandsaw and sanded to line:

Milled, ripped, ripped to 3 degree angle, cross cut the seats:

In fact, after sleeping on it a couple of weeks, went back and jointed to 3 degrees, as I had some smoke coming out of the table saw blade when ripping to 3 degrees. Also had some other issues holding the pieces. Hint: Rip very close to final width before ripping to 3 degrees, otherwise it will bind…

Being the smart woodworker, I made several practice pieces to be used in the different phases of making the Maloof-joint:

So no wonder that the first step on the actual piece succeeded fine. I first made several cuts with a table saw, and then clamped several pieces together and used a bullnose shoulder plane to get the surface even:

Since I have a biscuit router, I used biscuits and not dowels. I’m not worried about the strength, only the alignment when clamping. And yes, I did (try to) compensate for the 3 degree angle:

I also already bandsaw the backlegs. After bandsawing the DVD carried on with next steps. I clearly needed another step; tape the template to the blank, and rout flush…

And here my practice pieces came in handy again. I routed one piece to see the final width, and used that (to yet another practice piece) to find out the fact width for the upper part of the front legs. Since I don’t have access to a dado set, I have concocted a very elaborate sequence to rout the dados into the legs. So far, so good. The next steps of the sequence only exist in my mind, so I won’t bother trying to explain them yet. We’ll se how it goes…


But don’t hold your breath, this may take a while. My goal for applying the finish is somewhere during my summer vacation in July…

6 comments so far

View HalDougherty's profile


1820 posts in 4693 days

#1 posted 01-29-2012 01:18 PM

It’s going to be beautiful! I’ve got a cherry crotch that I slab sawed 2” thick and it’s been drying for 3 years. I’m going to start a maloof type rocker this summer. I should have enough figured cherry for at least two chairs. Here’s what the crotch slabs looked like when I cut them:

-- Hal, Tennessee

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 5555 days

#2 posted 01-29-2012 05:40 PM

Awesome! Scott puts out a pretty good product in his plans and he will back them with support if you have any problems.

I look forward to seeing the final project.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View Antti's profile


117 posts in 4065 days

#3 posted 01-29-2012 06:04 PM

Thx for the encouragement!

There is no way I could make this without the instructions. Looking at the final product makes you think its beyond us amateurs. Watching the DVD makes you think you can complete it almost as fast as it takes to watch the DVD…

The truth lies somewhere in between, I hope… I’m not even trying to follow the instructions exactly, as I cant make myself to cut based on measurement alone – I have to make trial pieces to make sure its coming out OK.

Anyway, watching Scott’s DVD makes you realize none of the steps are impossible, and so far I seem to be on the right track. I think his side table plans will come in handy when the pair of lowbacks start to surrender.

View RBWoodworker's profile


442 posts in 4807 days

#4 posted 01-29-2012 09:37 PM

Assembling the chair and getting all the parts to fit is relatively easy..just take your time.. double check.. it’s going to be the sculpting and shaping that will take the most time.. you have several “two’s” of parts meaning two front legs..two back legs..making them identical will be the challenge.. you also have a curved front legs that are rounded that have to be shaped by hand.. its a great project..I have made these chairs before and you can see the results here if you want to look..feel free to PM me if you have any questions..I love to help where I can..

-- Randall Child

View Antti's profile


117 posts in 4065 days

#5 posted 01-30-2012 06:27 AM

Randall, your work is very impressive! I’m not sure if if gets lost in translation, but in Finnish there is a saying “everything is easy, as long as you know how to do it….”. In this case it means that it might be somewhat easier for you than for me!

I have a question right away: When sculpting the seat, do you do it by feel, or have you routed/drilled/table sawed/.... some sort of depth references in beforehand? I was planning to do one of those things to the middle board before glue-up.

View RBWoodworker's profile


442 posts in 4807 days

#6 posted 02-10-2012 12:59 AM

Hi Antti.. I sculpt a portion out of the seat with the bandsaw before i glue the seat together, then..with that middle sculpted board..I place it on the boards next to it and use it as a template to cut out those boards taking care not to go too deep or stray from my line.. then after glue-up I have a lancelot grinder and a lancelot donut wheel to blend it..I follow up with scrapers and sanders.. you can place a story stick across the seat to see the depth and see if one side is off more than the well

here are some of the tools I use in sculpting the seat..

please PM me if you have any questions..I had no idea you asked a question..I apologize for not responding sooner..

-- Randall Child

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