My Maloofian 'Expereince'

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Blog entry by Tony_S posted 04-20-2010 04:43 AM 5508 reads 2 times favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Blog Entry-write about your woodworking journey in a casual or tutorial format; whether it is a project in progress, inspiration or a challenge

Well, I guess this is the right place for this…It was a woodworking journey, an inspiration and a challenge, all rolled into one.

I have admired Sam Maloof for many, many years….and although Ive never actually laid hands or even eyes, on a true Maloof piece, Ive managed to collect hundreds of photos through magazines, books and the internet.

For all those many, many years….I always told myself…”one day”. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I said that to myself.
Too busy…...Not enough time….Don’t have any plans. Blah, blah, blah. If there was an excuse to not build a piece, I used it. Even though, in the back of my head….I was just purely intimidated.
I would whisper to myself….you can build 100,000 dollar staircases, and all kinds of other furniture….why the hell are you intimidated by a chair?
But, I was. I stared at those pictures for ten years at least….studying them, admiring them, studying them some more…dissecting them…every line, every curve. Then I would make another excuse….close the book….one day.

Well, “one day” came about two months ago!
And let me tell you….It was a woodworking journey like Ive never been on before. I guess maybe because I’ve admired Maloof for so long…stared at those pictures for so long.
Sounds stupid….but it was almost a religious experience for me as the chair came together. Really hard to explain that part of it. Many times I would get frustrated during the shaping process’s…standing there staring at the chair with a rasp in my hand. Finally I’d just have to say “to hell with it” Just do it! and start grinding….rasping…sanding. Grind some more…rasp some more….the hair on the back of my neck would stand up as it started to come together, blend together. The lines would start flowing….I don’t know how many times I muttered to myself… The man was a *#^%ing genius…
And he really was….I don’t think you can truly appreciate what that man did (I know I didn’t) till you’ve built something designed by him.
As I said earlier….Ive built 100,000…200,000 dollar staircases and furniture galore. But…I truly consider this my biggest ‘mountain climbed’ to date.

Ok…I’m rambling again. I’ll show you some pictures. Sorry I’m not a great photographer….

Maloof Lowback

Maloof Lowback

Maloof Lowback

Maloof Lowback

Maloof Lowback

Maloof Lowback

Maloof Lowback

Maloof Lowback

Maloof Lowback

Hope you enjoyed the Journey…and the crappy pictures….feel free to ramble back at me.

-- It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. Aristotle

19 comments so far

View kolwdwrkr's profile


2824 posts in 4101 days

#1 posted 04-20-2010 04:49 AM

Looks like a beautiful chair. the next one won’t be so scary now, and will be even better. Looks like you had a fun journey and the reward of sitting in such a beautiful chair built by your own two hands is priceless. Well done

-- ~ Inspiring those who inspire me ~

View Jimthecarver's profile


1124 posts in 4296 days

#2 posted 04-20-2010 05:28 AM

You sure have a great talent, simply stunning.

-- Can't never could do anything, to try is to advance.

View ABB's profile


24 posts in 3589 days

#3 posted 04-20-2010 05:58 AM

Beautiful work and excellent wood selection-you have done a super job!

-- Allen, WA

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4610 days

#4 posted 04-20-2010 06:08 AM

Absolutely exquisite.

You may need to resize your pictures down a notch to get them to fit the page width better.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3819 days

#5 posted 04-20-2010 06:31 AM

Great looking chair. I have always found that the biggest obstacle in any project is taking the first step in getting started…(I believe there is some saying like that). What is great about a difficult project is that it is the beginning of a new learning experience…and wwe never grow if we do not challenge ourselves.

Now all you have to do is build 6 or 8 of them and a dining table to match.

View JohnnyW's profile


83 posts in 3541 days

#6 posted 04-20-2010 11:26 AM

When we admire someone so much, we put them on a pedestal and imagine that the gulf between them and us is too far to cross. It can seem almost disrespectful to think that we have the skills needed. But you do have the skills. The chair is stunning, congratulations. And now that you have taken those first steps, it’s clear that your respect for his work has grown even greater.

-- John

View F Dudak's profile

F Dudak

342 posts in 4321 days

#7 posted 04-20-2010 12:48 PM

You are a great study!!!! Beautiful chair!!!

-- Fred.... Poconos, PA ---- Chairwright in the making ----

View Tony_S's profile


1015 posts in 3594 days

#8 posted 04-20-2010 01:20 PM

Thanks a bunch for the compliments everyone….they are all muchly appreciated.

John, you came very close to explaining the whole thing. The pedestal…the almost disrespect. I think somehow I thought in the back of my mind that if ‘I’ could build one of his pieces, it might somehow bring Maloof down a bit from that very high ‘pedestal’ that I put him up onto. Turned out to be quite the opposite actually. As you said, I have more respect for the man now than ever before….didn’t think that was possible.

Thanks again everyone!

-- It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. Aristotle

View blackcherry's profile


3343 posts in 4334 days

#9 posted 04-20-2010 01:49 PM

You met a very difficult challenge in taking the first step toward a new era in your woodworking career. I believe that this style has plenty of us on the border of intimidation, but you my man crossed it and achieve a beautiful piece for your new collection of Maloof style pieces. Thanks for taking the time to share your story and enjoy your new era of furniture building….BC

View woodchic's profile


841 posts in 3868 days

#10 posted 04-20-2010 02:34 PM

Hi Tony….............I really enjoyed your story you told us concerning your intimidation of this build, I know exactly what you are talking about. Let me tell you, your chair looks amazing, and I love the wood choice you made. The joinery looks excellent, this being your first Maloof inspired piece… did a superb job with it. I also know what you meant by the hairs raising up on the back of your neck, almost being a religious experience…..........very hard to describe feeling, but when you get that feeling you are seeing it take shape, and are able to see it before it’s even done, and the more you work…......(it’s almost like being in a trance), and the only thing you can concentrate on (or want to concentrate on is the piece that you are working on) It’s a very good feeling…’s inspiring and it will beckon to you to do it again.


-- Robin Renee'

View BarbS's profile


2434 posts in 4596 days

#11 posted 04-20-2010 04:09 PM

That Really worked! congratulations on a beautiful piece of furniture. I hope it gave you the confidence to do more along that line. It’s very classy; nicely done.


View Arnold's profile


215 posts in 4073 days

#12 posted 04-20-2010 06:30 PM

its often tough to get something started as amazing as that. I too would like to build some Maloof style furniture and you have inspired me to do so. Thanks

Now I need to do some research and find some plans.

View Cher's profile


962 posts in 3604 days

#13 posted 04-20-2010 09:53 PM

Tony, you have done Sam Maloof proud.

Thank you for sharing this masterpiece with us.

-- When you know better you do better.

View Tony_S's profile


1015 posts in 3594 days

#14 posted 04-21-2010 12:27 AM

Again, thanks for all the complements….shucks…your just sayin’ that….

There will definitely be more to come, no question. More than likely a rocker…just have to decide which style.
I’m torn between two of his different styles. (maybe something combining the two?)

Arnold, I’m glad to hear this gave you a bit of a nudge. RUN WITH IT!! LOL!! Don’t make excuses like I did.
I wish I could point you in the right direction for some plans…..but I didn’t use any….Just a bunch of pictures and some real basic measurements I was able to scratch up.

-- It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. Aristotle

View garysharp's profile


119 posts in 3991 days

#15 posted 04-23-2010 08:56 AM

Thanks Tony for sharing your chair and story with us. I hope you have motivated other to reach the next level. Keep us up to date on your other projects, maybe even your staircases? Thanks garysharp

-- Garysharp "When sharpening woodworking tools, good enough,...isn't" “Your life’s complete only when your knowledge passes on”.

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