Maloof rocker finish

Idaho Andy

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I just had one of those "saved by the bell" moments... I was doing the final 320 grit sanding to the Maloof rocker Guild project, while listening to old episodes of Wood Talk.  As I was doing the final sanding on the crest rail I listened to Marc express his disappointment with the finish he had used on his rocker.   Things came to a screeching halt <REVERSE ALL ENGINES> The cans of Tried and True were NOT going to be opened this afternoon!!!

After updating and reading the project comments, it was apparent that there had been a change in heart regarding the use of oil and wax finish on the rocker.  Possible options suggested would be Watco Danish Oil or the good ol' wipe on poly ...

I was really hoping to see that air dried walnut color 'pop' this afternoon... but that's gonna wait. I was hoping the extensive knowledge of this esteemed group might have the much needed guidance into "finishing" (OK...pun intended) this project.

Your thoughts and suggestions would be greatly appreciated.



keep the DNA off of the woodwork! 



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The rocker looks great, nice job.  What was Marc's beef with the T&T, and which formula was he using?  I love the linseed/beeswax formula, personally...not much protection but it has a beautiful matte sheen and it goes on fairly easy if you warm up the can.  It doesn't flow like pure oil but it's still not that bad.

I think wiping varnish on a piece like that might be difficult...all those nooks and crannies.  It would look great, if you could get it done well...I just think it might be a huge PITA trying to keep things tidy at all those spindle joints, especially.

I believe Maloof's formula was equal parts BLO, tung (real tung) and poly.  Not 100% on that but I think it's right.

I've never had a great experience with DO.

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Eric ... thanks for the reply. Marc used 3 coats of T&T varnish oil blend followed by 3 more of the "Original" oil beeswax blend. The beef was initially it looked good, but after time it looked like it was a single coat of BLO, and little if any protection. He mentioned that it was dusted with a damp rag and that dusting raised the grain....   simply put, just not what he expected.

Your correct on the Maloof blend... and Rockler sells the "Maloof" finish that Sam M had originally used, so I guess that's an option.

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I used the T&T on the Maloof rocker and tend to agree with Marc's comments.  It just seems to be missing the "pop" or "finished" look that you would want after so many hours into that chair.  However, the chair has been in my house for over a year now and I think the finish has grown on me and I actually appreciate it a lot more than I thought I was going to.  Also, when I applied the finish, I found a couple sanding marks that my OCD wouldn't let go unfixed.  Because I used that finish, I was able to make the fixes super easy, reapply the finish, and it looks exactly like the rest of the chair.

So, it's a bit of a trade off I guess.  Looking at the chair now, I don't regret the chosen finish.  Initially, I wish I'd of gone with something different.

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14 minutes ago, davewyo said:

Yeah, Andy! That's a beaut.

Who knew that such excellent work was going on over the on the other side of the hill?:)

Thanks for the kind words Dave, but I've got a long way to go to compete with the "Cabriole thing"..... THAT is a GREAT project!!!

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18 hours ago, Eric. said:

  I love the linseed/beeswax formula, personally...not much protection but it has a beautiful matte sheen and it goes on fairly easy if you warm up the can

Eric... after considering your reply I had a couple follow-up questions for you.  Is there any reason for the two part process, that is, T&T oil/varnish blend followed by T&T oil/wax, or would the oil/wax only suffice?  Maloof used (and Rockler sells his formulas) the two part process.  I've used the T&T oil/varnish blend on my bench and shop fixtures, it seems to stop 'stuff' from sticking, but not certain there's much more than standard BLO.  I wonder if the Maloof oil/varnish would perform any better... it seems to use a tradition varnish/oil blend as opposed to the polimerized oil and resin.  Any thoughts?  Right now I'm tempted to just place the order with Rockler and figure if it was good enough for Maloof, it should be fine for me.

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Well any time you introduce varnish to the mix you're going to have a more protective finish, so that would certainly be a major factor in your decision process.  The T&T oil/wax formula offers basically zero real protection against dings and dents...possibly a slight amount of protection from moisture but I don't know how often a rocking chair would experience a spill.  I usually reserve my T&T oil/wax use to purely decorative items like boxes, picture frames, etc.  I've never used it on a moderate-to-high abuse item so I can't report on its efficacy in terms of protection.

I've never used the T&T varnish blend so I can't comment on that either.  AND I've never used the Maloof blend - purely because it's so close to Danish oil and I have a very negative opinion about DO that I won't go into again here...suffice it to say that I always default to ARS if I were ever inclined to use DO, just because I think it's a superior finish in every way...except one:

DO or Maloof blend would be easier to apply on a piece with so many nooks and crannies, because you wipe off the excess, which means you can maintain a much cleaner application at any of the tricky joints, corners, etc.  Opposed to ARS where best practice (IMO) is to lay down a thin, even coat, and leave it...if you go back and try to wipe up excess ARS (aside from the very first coat), you almost always run the risk of streaking because it tacks up so quickly.  DO and Maloof blend takes much longer to start to set up, so you have more time to go back and clean up drips and pooling.

Perhaps this is why Maloof used his formula...the man must have had his reasons...and it's kind of hard to argue with the master.

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I would not be shy of using Danish Oil, in and of itself. However, my somewhat limited experience has been that to make it look GOOD, takes a lot of patience. As in, flood on a coat, rub it in with some 600-800 wey/dry paper, wipe off excess. Wait 8 to 24 hors, and repeat. And repeat. And repeat, possibly 8 to 12 times.


Tedious, but does produce nice results. Low sheen, and smooooooooooth.

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