Maloof Rocker from Claro Walnut

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Project by Redoak49 posted 12-02-2018 10:08 PM 2804 views 6 times favorited 32 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Early 2018, I looked at making a Maloof Style Rocker as it was one of the things on my bucket list of projects. I looked at pictures and posts on LJ along with the web and at plans. I found two woodworkers who offered both Instruction Manuals and Classes. One was Hal Taylor and the other was Bill Kappel. Both have posted rockers on the LJ site and look very good. I purchased the manuals from both and then also watched the instructional videos of both of them. Both of them had very good manuals and videos and would be excellent instructors. I eventually decided that Bill Kappel was a bit more to my personal preferences and I would do a one on one class with him.

Bill Kappel has posted numerous rockers on LJ and has a good website

I went out to Utah and spent a week with Bill Kappel in Ephraim, Utah learning about making a rocking chair and starting on mine. He had picked out a very nice Claro Walnut with a lot of character. We roughed out the seat, arms, legs and most importantly made the joints for the seat to the legs using his jigs. He showed by example and then let me do as much as I could. I spent every night reviewing in his manual what we were going to cover the next day. I left there with copies of all the jigs and templates that would be needed to make another chair if I wanted.

Bill Kappel shipped my rocker parts home to me in Indiana and I went to work on the rocker. It was a long process and something that I had never done. There was a lot of grinding, shaping, rasping, and sanding to get pieces into the proper shape. I used an angle grinder with a Kutzall disk to do a lot of the rough shaping and then flap disks and sandpaper disks. I also used a die grinder with a Kutzall burr on it for shaping. A lot of the shaping was also done with my DeWalt RO sander with grits from 40 to 320. Some of the shaping was done with rasps and I had looked at buying different ones but the best ones are expensive. I ended up using the coarse and fine Kutzall rasps the most.

I was not in a hurry and took my time trying to do the best I could. Several times, I sent pictures to Bill and he replied with helpful hints. One of the most difficult parts was getting the rockers on the chair with the proper height and slant for my wife. It took several iterations of adjustments to get this a best fit. I went through a lot of sandpaper of all sorts.

My dust collector and air cleaner were running all the time to collect all the dust. Most of the time I wore a N100 dust mask.

The finish on the chair was several coats of Teak Oil, several coats of wipe on polyurethane and finally rubbing out with 1500 and 2000 grit paper and Butchers Wax. This really brought out the beautiful grain of the Claro Walnut.

My wife is very pleased with her rocker and says that it feels good to sit in and rocks wonderfully.
I am going to do some other projects now but plan to make a second rocker. I have not decided on the wood that I want to use but I am thinking about some Curly Maple.

32 comments so far

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

12390 posts in 4642 days

#1 posted 12-02-2018 10:20 PM

An absolutely gorgeous piece, redoak. Just superb. And, thanks for the story. There’s likely to be a fight over it ….hopefully, many years from now, though.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View sras's profile


6322 posts in 4343 days

#2 posted 12-02-2018 11:18 PM

Great job! These chairs are quite the challenge – we on LJs get used to seeing them, but each one is a major accomplishment! Congrats.

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View Dave's profile


157 posts in 4411 days

#3 posted 12-03-2018 12:21 AM

really amazing work!

-- "I'm not afraid of heights. I'm afraid of widths." - Steven Wright

View Don Broussard's profile

Don Broussard

4070 posts in 3465 days

#4 posted 12-03-2018 12:30 AM

Looks like an heirloom from here, redoak! Great job. A Maloof rocker is on my list of projects to build. I already have Bill’s plan. I just need to make it happen now.

-- People say I hammer like lightning. It's not that I'm fast -- it's that I never hit the same place twice!

View Andrek's profile


652 posts in 3124 days

#5 posted 12-03-2018 01:05 AM

Making one of these , takes a lot of work, tools, and time. bravo you have done a very nice rocker and you should enjoy it forever , well, you or your love one Once more ,,, bravo.

-- andrek

View ralbuck's profile


6763 posts in 3480 days

#6 posted 12-03-2018 02:46 AM


-- Wood rescue is good for the environment and me! just rjR

View GR8HUNTER's profile


8878 posts in 1926 days

#7 posted 12-03-2018 02:54 AM

gratz on your wonderful chair the craftsmanship is very excellent GRATZ TOP 3 GREAT JOB:<))

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN :<))

View Gary's profile


1501 posts in 5538 days

#8 posted 12-03-2018 02:56 AM

This is a beautiful piece of work using stunning wood.
Well done sir.

-- Gary, Florida

View swirt's profile


6524 posts in 4186 days

#9 posted 12-03-2018 03:17 AM

Simple beautiful. Great wood and amazing execution.

-- Galootish log blog,

View Peteybadboy's profile


3889 posts in 3163 days

#10 posted 12-03-2018 11:33 AM

What dedication! The results are fantastic! Well done.

-- Petey

View hoss12992's profile


4180 posts in 3107 days

#11 posted 12-03-2018 11:50 AM

Absolutely beautiful

-- The Old Rednek Workshop

View Kaleb the Swede's profile

Kaleb the Swede

1984 posts in 3183 days

#12 posted 12-03-2018 12:50 PM

Wow! That’s really nice. Great work

-- Just trying to build something beautiful

View CampD's profile


1832 posts in 4700 days

#13 posted 12-03-2018 02:19 PM


-- Doug...

View bondogaposis's profile


6025 posts in 3565 days

#14 posted 12-03-2018 03:05 PM

Very nice.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Planeman40's profile


1558 posts in 3975 days

#15 posted 12-03-2018 04:15 PM

Beautiful workmanship!!! An inspiring project.

-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

showing 1 through 15 of 32 comments

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