Mind Games 2.0

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Tag: Sam Maloof

Another rocker in the works.

I started building a new rocker for Gail.  This one is also to be a Maloof-style rocker.  It’ll be made of cherry, with walnut accents.  I started it just after Christmas (2012) when I finished the dining chairs.  Here’s a gallery of the process.

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The seat is carved, the legs are cut to rough shape, and the joints are fashioned.
Seat and legs in rough outlines
Here is the chair with all four legs when it was first put together.
The first rough assembly
Legs look nice after a day of spokeshaving and rasping.
Shaped legs
Legs and armrests glued up and ready to be shaped together.
Legs and armrests on
Spindles finished and inserted into crest rail.
Spindles and back on
Crest Rail shaped to be a owl's head for the ornithologist who will sit in it.
Crest rail shaped
Gluing up cherry and walnut laminates to make one of two rockers.
Gluing cherry and walnut rocker
Bent and laminated rockers are glued onto the chair legs. It's now a rocking chair.
Rockers glued on
The legs are carved into the rockers. All that's left is the finish sanding and finishing.
Rocker shaping finished
It's done!! A side view of the rocker. Note the walnut inserts in the rockers, and the walnut plugs.
Gail's Owl Rocker
A front shot of the finished rocker to highlight the owl silhouette of the crest rail, a design touch for
Gail's Owl Rocker

I’ll update this post and add to the gallery as the chair progresses.

UPDATE 1 January 2013 – I spent much of New Year’s Day shaping the legs (see the third picture in the gallery).  Work is great when the radio is good.  Summer weekends are always good because there’s baseball on the radio.  Today one of our local stations was playing the Beatles A-Z – the entire Beatles catalog in alphabetical order.  Spokeshaving to the Beatles is a good thing.

UPDATE 20 January 2013 – Legs and armrests attached to the seat.  It’s starting to look like a chair.

UPDATE 11 March 2013 – Spindles finished and inserted into seat and crest rail.

UPDATE 17 March 2013 – Crest rail shaped to resemble the outline of an owl’s head. Gail is an ornithologist, so I thought it was fitting.

UPDATE 24 March 2013 – Glued up first laminated rocker. These are made by milling 3/8″ x 2″ x 53″ strips of cherry. I added one 1/8″ strip of walnut for an accent in the stack. From top to bottom the stack is 2 cherry, 1 walnut, 4 cherry.

UPDATE 12 April 2013 – Shaped rockers are now attached to the chair.  It’s now officially a rocking chair.  Handmade with one or two imperfections, but that proves it’s handmade.  Can you find them?

UPDATE 14 April 2013 – The legs are now carved into the rockers.  All that’s left is final sanding and then finishing.

UPDATE 26 April 2013 – IT’S DONE.  Gail’s new owl rocker.

Gail's Owl Rocker

Gail’s owl rocker made of cherry with walnut accents.

Gail's Owl Rocker

It’s Done!!


Dining Chairs

I finished a set of six formal dining room chairs for Christmas this year.

Dining Chairs

They’re made of walnut and finished with a homemade version of Sam Maloof‘s special finish formula (also visit his shop, carried on by coworkers, here). I designed these chairs last winter with the typical Maloof joinery, The low arm rests serve as the stretchers for the legs, instead of stretchers under the legs. I read about Maloof using this technique in his biography. I made a prototype of the design last spring, liked it, and then made five more this summer and fall.  The five new ones are a little different in the details of the crest rail and seat. Here’s a gallery of some other pieces.


My next chair

I love to build things. That probably comes with being a scientist: the challenge of making a bunch of things fit together. I’ve built much of the furniture we have in the house, plus a couple of canoes, clocks, and the like.

Because of my bad knees, a couple of years ago I built myself a Morris Chair for my office.

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