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Sam Maloof Chair Joint

author-gravatar whalenwoodworking Jun 05, 2016

My next project will be building a Sam Maloof Low Back chair. There are hundreds of patterns on the internet for these and they are potentially the most well known chair in the woodworking community. The problem is most of the patterns are not free. I spent a couple hours this morning figuring out how to make what I'm calling the Sam Maloof Chair Joint. I hope you find this interesting and helpful

Photo of Sam Maloof Chair Joint

I start by cutting a 3/4" dado in the chair seat. The depth should be set to half the thickness of your leg. In this example I'm using 6/4 legs so the dado is 3/4" deep. This will will locate the leg. 

Photo of Sam Maloof Chair Joint

Next I used a 3/8" forstner bit to round the inside corners followed by a mortiser to remove the bulk of the waste. The forstner bit size is determined by what size roundover bit you have. I happened to have a 3/16" radius router bit. The width is determined by the width of your leg, in this case 2.5" and the depth is determined by leaving 3/4" left in the center.

Photo of Sam Maloof Chair Joint

The leg is made by cutting out 3/4" wide slots on each side of a 3/4" rib that fits into the grove on the seat. The slot should be half the thickness of the leg deep.

Photo of Sam Maloof Chair Joint

Finally, route the corners off of the leg piece. This will fit perfectly into the trimmed corners from the forstner bit. Ignore the full depth of the leg slots. This picture was from the first try.

Photo of Sam Maloof Chair Joint

The joint should fit snuggly. The huge surface area makes an incredibly strong joint. The area can be shaped to your liking.


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