A place for me to display some of the varied projects that come out of my shop, as well as to "talk" about some of my experiences working with wood.

Monday, 29 July 2013

Maloof-inspired Dining Set Begins!

Maloof Low-Back Dining Chair
One of the projects next on the list for me is to build a pair of low-back dining chairs and a small (40" diameter) table for our breakfast area. With no kids around now, we find ourselves eating at a small table I made a while ago rather than the dining room set. The two side chairs from my office are just not the right chairs to eat on.
Maloof small table (mine will be round)

I have known for a while these would be a Maloof style; my rocking chair carving/building experience has shown me this is within my abilities.

I knew I would need some help on the design for this and have been looking for inspiration for a while. Last fall at WIA I took a close look at Charles Brock's chair in the flesh and while close to what I was after, I did not like the arm treatment. Scott Morrison's version was closer to what I was after, so I bought both sets of templates and decided to merge them into my own version.

Konrad Sauer's elegant design
I knew I wanted a flattish arm style similar to Konrad Sauer's (at right) and Scott's plans were the closest to this, so I used his templates and Charles' techniques - neither of these plans are detailed enough to build from unless you have some experience in this style of building - so be warned. The Hal Taylor plans and video are unprecedented in detail  - perhaps too far the other way but you will not be wanting for more information in Hal's videos - everything you need to know to build your first Maloof-style piece is there - I cannot recommend this approach strongly enough if you are not going to attend a class.

I also bought Scott Morrison's templates and video for the table. Again, Scott's video and templates are very short on details and dimensions forcing one to do a lot of thinking around the build - I would have expected a lot more. The video is sexy with its CGI graphics and animation, but you cannot build your first table from this template and video without lots of help.

On with the build!

With the design work mostly done...

The flitch of 8/4 Walnut I made Courtney's bench from was bought primarily for this purpose. So time to get to work! Below are a few picture of work to date on the build.

Gluing up a pair of seat blanks, there were a few small checks, I filled them with stained epoxy to start.
Later I will cut the worst of it out and make sure it will be carved away in the final seat to ensure I have
a stable seat.

Gluing up the top in stages to avoid a catastrophic mistake.
Cleaning up the seat blank to make it lie flat for joinery - it  is 1-3/4" thick at this point and the thickest part
will likely end up just north of 1-5/8".

All the joinery marked out on the seat blanks. The happy faces are the lines I will drill on the set a depth reference for my carving. The legs joints are marked out as well.

All the legs rough cut and labeled with the joinery routed on the seats ready for the joinery on the legs to be cut.

Organization is key!
Back to the shop to cut some leg joints.


  1. Hi Richard, That is one beautiful chair, the arms seem to be inviting you in. Good luck with the build, I look forward to seeing the result. All the best, David.

  2. Hello Richard, Thank you very much for your kind comments in relation to my rocking chair plans and DVD. You are most gracious indeed! I must also add that you do remarkable work yourself. Do not know if you knew but I make guitars as well, along with resonator guitars, harps and other curious things. If there is ever anything I can do for you please drop me a note! Thanks again. Hal Taylor

    1. Thanks Hal,
      I did not know you made guitars. Thanks for the kind words.