Maloof pins

Re:
http://americanart.si.edu/maloof/design/fig171.jpg
Maloof appears to pin the crest rail through the back legs of that chair. I can understand why he'd pin the chair rail tenons as a drawbored M&T is quite sturdy indeed. But when he pins the crest rail, he's boring through end grain. I would think those pins would weaken, not strengthen, then chair. Then it occured to me. Maloof's not pinning the crest rail tenon. Despite the round ends, those aren't pins he's using. They're wedges.
That's just a guess. Am I right?
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Probably just plugs covering up drywall screws... <G> According to my uneducated guesses, it doesn't seem like pins into the crest rail would weaken the chair very much, and it doesn't seem like the crest rail would be taking a lot of stress as the chair is used. And if we're looking at the same pins, and they're indeed pins and not wedges, he is boring into end grain, but once the pin is inserted, that would be a lot of long grain-to-long grain glue area inside the crest rail. Others' thoughts? Andy
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My local library's got a video on him. Watched it with the wife and a friend. Outside of the "Wow!" factor as we watched him sail that wood through the bandsaw at all those odd angles, we remarked on all the screws he used putting those things together and some of those were into end grain and then plugged.
I can't tell from that photo where you're talking about, though.
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Huh - I though I was kidding. IMO, wood screws can certainly have a place in fine furniture, but I just assumed Mr. Maloof wouldn't share my opinions on that. Interesting. Andy
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I keep thinking that someday I'll check out that video again. It was a few years ago and I've formed a few opinions of my own. :-)
The thing I remember most clearly was him talking about how he was self-taught, which was why he used the bandsaw in a manner that would give just about any shop teacher nightmares. He didn't know he wasn't supposed to take a three-inch slab, put it on end, angle it a bit, and sail it through a huge bandsaw, on a curve, to form the chair seat, so he did. And lost part of a finger or two. He didn't know he wasn't supposed to use screws, so he did.
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I'd be really surprised if he's using screws on the end grain of a crest rail.
Consider this link:
http://www.woodworkersjournal.com/articles/37-1.jpg
That is a wedged through tenon. I suspect he's wedging a non-through tenon. Instead of square wedges, he's using round. Of course this is pure speculation on my part.
The benefit of this method is a second chance. Normally, when you wedge a non-through tenon, the wedge goes into the mortise along with the tenon. As you push the tenon home, the wedge pushes the spit and flays the tenon tight. The problem is you better have it right because if it doesn't fit, it doesn't matter. The tenon's not coming out.
If Maloof is wedging with wedged dowel pins, then he could always pull them out if the wedge doesn't fit quite right.
Jeff
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All I remember for sure is, we watched him shoot a screw into one of his rocking chairs. You could well be right about him not using screws on the end grain of a crest rail. I could even be wrong about there being any end grain involved at all.
Now I've GOT to go check out that video again. Lemme see here.. my library lists two video titles.
Sam Maloof woodworking profile. The Taunton Press, 1989.
Sam Maloof woodworker MacArthur library Aims Media (distributor), 1973
I think the one I saw was the first one.
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Dang, nice library you have! Neither Lake Oswego nor Multnomah County (Portland, OR) have any Maloof videos. Kerry
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Thank you. However I should point out that I'm using the Wisconsin Library Madcat system and it's statewide and both videos are in little town libraries a long ways away. I've got to request em both and wait. And now that I think about it I can't remember seeing my library card since that unscheduled dip in the river when we went canoeing...
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I believe the crest rail really is screwed to the legs. The combination of the legs attcahed to seat and crest rail and possibly a number of slats is very strong. In Sam's own words; " There are many palces in my furniture where a dowel or mortise-and-tenon joint just does not work because of the thinness of the wood;so I use screws. In effect the screw is a metal dowel. I am not a purist. .... I have no qualms about this." from Sam Maloof Woodworker.
I am positive he uses screws to reinforce that leg to seat joint which is sort of signature joint for him.
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It's all screws. I took a class with Maloof many years back where he discussed how he did this. I've also built a couple of these style rockers. It's nothing more than an end grand to long grain glued joint, drilled through the rail with 3 to 4 inch screws pulling it tight. Then the screws are just plugged over with a rosewood or ebony plug for contrast. It's actually very stable and since the rear legs are well secured at the seat joint, it's not really a joint that's under high stress. The tenoned back slats simply sit inside drilled holes in the seat and the crest rail. If you see a Maloof piece of furniture first hand, the beauty is in the simplicity and cleanness of the design. The construction usually follows the same "simplicity". He doesn't do a lot of fancy joinery - it's all simple and efficient.
Gary in KC
P.S. For another example of these types of rockers try this website (www.haltaylor.com). He uses much the same joinery as Maloof with a few design changes (like flexible laminated back slats - it's really a comfortable design).
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