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ToolPost Pays Tribute to Master Woodworker Sam Maloof

The respected speciality supplier of woodturning and woodcarving tools and equipment, ToolPost (, note with sadness the recent passing of master woodworker Sam Maloof, and pay tribute to his remarkable talent. The artist (who always preferred the term woodworker) died on the 21st May 2009 at his home in California, aged 93.

The fine woodworking world has lost a pioneer but his work will live on, displayed in the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Smithsonian Institution, among many other museums around the world, and in the homes of any who can afford the sizeable price tag that a Maloof piece commands. His work regularly sells for thousands of dollars in the United States, with one of his beautifully crafted rocking chairs selling for $140,000 at a charity auction a short time before his death.

Perhaps Maloof's greatest achievement was to widen the appeal of fine wood working and woodcarving and help people to view utilitarian objects as fine art. Betsy Broun, director of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, explains: "A lot of Americans say fine art is not for them, but no American doesn't like a Sam Maloof chair. For so many decades he was considered the premier wood craftsmen in this country and the world."

Maloof's origins as a wood craftsmen were as utilitarian as his work itself. As a newly married man on an artist's assistant's salary, Maloof could not afford to furnish his first home (one of the first tract homes to be built in California) so he set about building furniture from scrap wood. After a feature in Better Homes and Gardens on these new tract homes, readers made enquiries about the beautifully made furniture with the simple, fine lines. The first orders came in and quickly built up and soon Sam Maloof was in business. But mass manufacturing this was not, and Maloof always retained the artistry of his craft by rejecting many approaches by manufacturers, making every piece by hand in his own workshop.

Maloof famously never used a tape measure, simply sketching the lines to be cut freehand; he would then make a rough piece which he would hand over to his team of three longtime assistants for the final wood finishing. Friends of Mr. Maloof report that he was still working six days a week, mostly 10 hour days, shortly up until his death. He was quoted as saying, "If you love what you do, it really isn't work". Maloof always maintained he was not an artist but a woodworker, but his fans would claim that his finest achievement was impressively illustrating the fine line between art and craft.

ToolPost are proud to furnish wood craftsmen and women with the tools and equipment they need to turn their craft into art, from woodcarving tools to wood turning tools and more. To view the full ToolPost range, visit

Editor's Note: The ToolPost is represented by the digital marketing specialists and SEO provider Jumping Spider Media. Please direct all press queries to Louise Byrne. Email: or call: +44 (0)20 3070 1959 / +34 952 783 637.

1997-2010 P. Hemsley.  The information on this website is the copyright property of Peter Hemsley.  Coeur du Bois and The ToolPost are trading styles of Peter Hemsley.  Whilst reasonable efforts are made to ensure the accuracy of information presented, no liability can be accepted for errors in this information nor for contingencies arising therefrom.  If you are inexperienced in any aspect of woodworking, we would strongly counsel that you take a course of formal instruction before commencing to practice