Sam Maloof, 1916-2009


Designer and builder of elegant but simple iconic furniture.
By John Economaki
Pages: 42-43

From the December 2009 issue #180
Buy this issue now

Sam Maloof is the reason I became a furniture maker. I used to teach shop in the early 1970s. The Portland (Ore.)Public Schools maintained an audio/video depository for teachers and in those days most of the technical choices were film strips with the requisite recording that beeped when it was time to roll forward. Dorky. The heat from the projector was unbearable.

My woodshop “classroom” was small and consisted of a series of tiered benches surrounded by windows reinforced by chicken wire – a needed safety measure to protect students from the occasional explosions in the adjacent welding lab.

Sometime in 1974 I noticed a film titled “Sam Maloof: Woodworker” and ordered it for review. The next day after classes, I rolled in the projector and watched a movie about a woodworker who was unknown to me. It is probably important to mention that I was 23 years old and 1,800 miles from home.

Online Extra

* Click here to read the Great Woodshops article, “Legendary Rocker,” about our visit to Sam Maloof’s workshop.


From the December 2009 issue #180
Buy this issue now