Woodworker/artist Sam Maloof dies
June 10, 2009 3:26 PM   Subscribe

Self-taught Sam Maloof, who called himself a woodworker, died recently at 93. Here’s a somewhat balky 21-minute youtube of him being interviewed, whilst shaping and piecing a chair.

His book "Sam Maloof, Woodworker" [ISBN13: 9780870119101; ISBN10: 0870119109] is partially available here.

"Ray Charles couldn't see my furniture," Maloof told a reporter. "But he said he could feel that it had soul. When he asked about my rocker [at a friend's house], his host told him, 'That's a chair made by Sam Maloof.' Ray ran his hands over the wood shouting, 'I know this man! I know this man!' On his next visit, the first thing Ray Charles said was, 'I'd like to touch that furniture again that Sam Maloof made.' “
posted by goofyfoot (10 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
An amazing woodworker and a good human! I am sorry he is gone, but glad he was here.
posted by bepe at 3:35 PM on June 10, 2009


There was (is?) an extensive collection of his work at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. I visited the exhibit several years ago and was impressed with his work.
posted by uaudio at 3:43 PM on June 10, 2009

The NY Times link in the OP isn't working for me, but this should: WOOD WORKS; For Life's Meaning, Examine the Grain. And since it came up while searching, here's Sam Maloof's obit.
posted by ardgedee at 4:06 PM on June 10, 2009

You can also visit his original home; it is chock full of Sam originals and handiwork (all the door hardware is wood!), and an extensive collection of local art in various forms - pottery, sculpture, canvas, etc. He was a great patron of art and his foundation continues to support it. The house is also a testament to his life's great love, Freida.

I was lucky enough to visit a couple years ago and our group got to hang out with him for a while. But I'm frankly surprised he made it this long - he was pretty frail even then.

A true loss for the worlds of woodworking and fine art.
posted by killy willy at 4:48 PM on June 10, 2009

uaudio, thank you. It didn't occur to me to look at the Smithsonian, but here's a transcript of an oral history with Maloof.
posted by goofyfoot at 4:49 PM on June 10, 2009

ahh, bummer.
posted by notyou at 5:12 PM on June 10, 2009

posted by Flashman at 5:20 PM on June 10, 2009

My father told me about Maloof's death today, and I looked up other master woodworkers that he's appreciated, such as Bob Stocksdale. Maloof endorsed Stocksdale's book. There are pictures of Stocksdale's bowls in "To turn the perfect wooden bowl."
posted by goofyfoot at 5:48 PM on June 10, 2009

Beautiful - I was not familiar with his work before now. Inspiring stuff. Thank you.
posted by dubold at 6:01 PM on June 10, 2009

Loved your post, thanks.
posted by nickyskye at 8:22 PM on June 10, 2009

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