A Maloof-Inspired Sculpted Rocker

Article - May 3, 2015

The Sculpted Rocker Guild project starts next week and there’s an elephant in the room. I should probably address him.

Upcoming_RockerI have no problem admitting that I had/have serious reservations about doing this project in the Guild. When you build a sculpted rocker, in nearly every case, you’re doing your best to emulate the one and only Sam Maloof. His rockers (and other works) are admired by woodworkers and non-woodworkers alike. This is probably why this was the most requested project since the Guild’s inception.

I knew I didn’t have the time to develop my own patterns for this project so I reached out to fellow woodworker Charles Brock, who sells plans and DVDs on how to make his interpretation of a sculpted rocker. I licensed the plans for use in the Guild and will do my best to show folks how to make the chair with the level of detail we apply to every Guild project.

While this may have covered my butt with Brock, it doesn’t do much for the folks at the Maloof shop. After all, even after paying licensing fees I will eventually make a profit from a Maloof-inspired design. I have great respect for the Maloof family and craftspeople that keep the name and brand alive today. As you can see, my desire to bring this challenging project to my audience conflicts with my personal ethics. From my perspective, it’s just not a black and white issue. So, what am I to do?

Starting retroactively in April, I’ll be donating 10% of our direct revenue from the Sculpted Rocker plans to the Maloof Foundation. The Maloof Foundation’s mission is: “to perpetuate excellence in craftsmanship, encourage artists and make available to the public the treasure house the Maloofs lovingly created.” Located in Southern California, the organization does great things for the community and the craft and it should be on your short list of woodworking destinations to visit.

To be honest, I’m still trying to process all of this and the eventual repercussions. I always try to be honest and fair not only in my personal life but my business life as well. Even if the patterns we’re using in the Guild came from a third party, there’s no denying where the original inspiration came from and the best thing I can think to do is simply share the profits.

Perhaps the Maloof people will see it as an empty gesture. I hope not. Either way, I’ll be sending them money twice a year. If you already purchased the project or a bundle containing the project, a portion of your purchase is currently sitting in the Maloof Foundation’s Paypal account. If anyone wants to donate directly to the Foundation, you can do so by clicking the little red “Make a Donation” button at the top of their home page.

Thanks for listening.


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