Maloof-inspired bench with woven leather seat 2.0

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Project by Paul Mayer posted 01-07-2016 12:41 PM 3935 views 21 times favorited 33 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is my second attempt at a Maloof style bench. I had so much fun and learned so much on the first one that I decided to build another one. I made many refinements in the construction process to address some of the challenges that I encountered with the first one. This one is cherry with black leather.

-- Paul Mayer,

33 comments so far

View ohwoodeye's profile


2301 posts in 3787 days

#1 posted 01-07-2016 03:32 PM

Very pretty but kind of impractical. What can you place on it? Some magazines I guess. More of a piece of art. That wood frame looks silky smooth….......just want to glide my hands over it. When someone says that, it should be taken as one of the highest of all compliments.
Well done.

-- "Fine Woodworking" is the name given to a project that takes 3 times longer than normal to finish because you used hand tools instead of power tools. ----Mike, Waukesha, WI

View pottz's profile


7919 posts in 1618 days

#2 posted 01-07-2016 03:36 PM

i love your design practical or not its beautiful and youll never go wrong with cherry all around great job

-- sawdust the bigger the pile the bigger my smile-larry,so cal.

View htl's profile


4918 posts in 1793 days

#3 posted 01-07-2016 03:40 PM

I just love this style and grow up around this type of furniture.
A bench is to sit on and this looks like it would be quite comfortable and as ohwoodeye said would be a joy to touch.

-- An Index Of My Model making Blogs

View HappyHowie's profile


473 posts in 2579 days

#4 posted 01-07-2016 03:52 PM


-- --- Happy Howie

View Paul Mayer's profile

Paul Mayer

1091 posts in 3699 days

#5 posted 01-07-2016 04:01 PM

Thank you for the nice comments.

Mike, it is a comfortable bench. We use this by our entry door for putting on shoes, and we have another one in our master bedroom for putting on socks. The leather is nice to sit on, and supports a lot of weight. I wouldn’t flinch at all if a 300 pound person sat in it. The first time I saw one of these it was a Maloof original in the Boston Museum of Fine Art. There was a security guard sitting on it and he was sound asleep. I actually woke him up so that I could get a better look at it, and he said that it was his favorite place to sit in the museum. I’d have to be pretty tired to sleep in it, and I wouldn’t want to watch a movie sitting in it, but it more comfortable than many benches for short stints.

-- Paul Mayer,

View observer100's profile


451 posts in 1744 days

#6 posted 01-07-2016 04:24 PM

Eye appeal and functionality. Super nice!

View calisdad's profile


334 posts in 2143 days

#7 posted 01-07-2016 04:30 PM


Any special treatment to the leather? thanks-

-- Groveland, CA.

View Paul Mayer's profile

Paul Mayer

1091 posts in 3699 days

#8 posted 01-07-2016 04:39 PM

Hi Calisdad,

I didn’t do anything to treat the leather myself; I bought it ready to use. Sam Maloof originally used rawhide on these benches (according to his book), but I believe that he switched to tanned leather at some point (not positive about this). The brand that I used was Tandy.

-- Paul Mayer,

View kaerlighedsbamsen's profile


1317 posts in 2347 days

#9 posted 01-07-2016 08:31 PM

Sweet- my favorite Maloof design!

I made many refinements in the construction process to address some of the challenges that I encountered with the first one
Care to share what refinements you made? Might make one myself and would love to know where to avoid mistakes or awkward methods.

Thanks for sharing!

-- "Do or Do not. There is no try." - Yoda

View DnD's profile


70 posts in 1724 days

#10 posted 01-07-2016 08:31 PM

Paul, absolutely stunning. How can I get my hands on the plans to make one? Brian

-- Brian in Texas

View Paul Mayer's profile

Paul Mayer

1091 posts in 3699 days

#11 posted 01-07-2016 09:34 PM

Thanks DND and kaer. I’m working on a project plan and drawing for this project, and I’ll let you know when these are ready to go. The improvements were mainly in the areas of assembly process (clamping sequence, mortise approach, etc.), as well as how the leather is attached. After I built the first one, I documented the process, and invited two woodworkers to come to my shop and each build one following my process (as a sidebar, I learned a ton by seeing how two other woodworkers would build the same project). They both found simplifications and improvements that I was able to incorporate into the project plan to make it better the second time around (or I guess it would be the fourth time if you count their benches as well). I’m a newbie with leather, so its possible that the methods there should have been more obvious from the beginning, but the approach that I used for round two was simpler and better. I stopped into a Tandy store and got some great input from one of the guys there.

-- Paul Mayer,

View SteveGaskins's profile


762 posts in 3221 days

#12 posted 01-07-2016 10:34 PM

Beautiful bench. Nicely done. I love Sam’s designs. Always have, always will.

-- Steve, South Carolina,

View Paul Mayer's profile

Paul Mayer

1091 posts in 3699 days

#13 posted 01-07-2016 10:47 PM

Thanks, Steve. I totally with you on the love for Maloof designs. My tastes in design have evolved a lot over the years, but a deep admiration for the Maloof pieces has been a constant for me. Many years agoI had an opportunity to visit the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, and there I was able to sit in one of these benches, as well as a Maloof rocker, and sit at a Maloof desk in one of his arm chairs. One of the curators at the museum actually had his office decked out with Maloof furniture which he graciously let me explore. It was something of a religious experience for me in my early woodworking days, and I’m still inspired by it all these years later.

-- Paul Mayer,

View bobasaurus's profile


3618 posts in 3818 days

#14 posted 01-07-2016 11:06 PM

That’s unique and interesting, well done.

-- Allen, Colorado (Instagram @bobasaurus_woodworking)

View John's profile


246 posts in 2215 days

#15 posted 01-07-2016 11:46 PM

Really really cool. Love the design.

-- I measured once, cut twice, and its still too short...

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