How to Make the Maloof Joint

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This is How to Make the Maloof Joint. This post, I’ll show you a very cool joint that you can make super easily, and it takes a flat piece of wood and makes it look like a curved piece of wood. Enjoy.

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The Maloof Joint

How-to-Make-the-Maloof-JointThe Maloof joint is one of the simplest joints in all of woodworking, and even so, it’s also one of the most fun. It’s hard to appreciate how simple this is if you’ve never done a lot of work with curved pieces of wood before.

Working with curves is a lot of fun, and it’s also beautiful. The problem is that working with curves is also a lot more difficult, and more time-consuming. This is where the Maloof joint solves a lot of problems with out wasting any materials.

Once you start making this type of joint, and curving your pieces of wood with it, you’ll end up using this technique all the time. It’s super easy, the joint is nearly seamless, and it lets you take one flat board and turn it into one curved board that’s about the same size.

See Also: How to Curve Wood in Five Different Ways

Selecting the Wood

The first thing you need to do is select a piece of wood that you’re going to use to make the joint. Most wood that you buy at the store is about 3/4 of an inch thick. This is about as thin as you ever want to buy for this type of joint.

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In fact, it’s actually a little bit easier if you pick up a piece of wood that’s a little closer to an inch or maybe just over an inch thick. This gives you a little bit more meat to work with, and it also makes the resulting curved piece of wood a little bit stronger.

Also, you can get a little bit more of a curve with a taller piece of wood because it lets you cut a taller arc then on a piece of wood is very thin. Either way you go, select a piece that’s clear, free of defects, and that you are comfortable sawing through.

See Also: Woodworking Tips Cards – Wood Choice

Making the Cut

maloof joint diagramSince this is a tall cut, typically at least a couple inches tall but many times more like 4 or 5 inches tall, the best tool for this job as your bandsaw. Even a small or midsize mid size saw is fine as long as you have the right depth of cut.

The first thing you need to do is draw your line on the edge of your board. Use a curved template or bend a dowel rod if you need to, and it will give you a nice curve. Make your pencil marks nice and dark so they are easy to follow.

As you start the cut, make sure that the entire blade enters vertically, and that you don’t push so hard that the blade starts to wander inside of the cut. You want to go a little slower so that way you have a perfectly perpendicular cut that doesn’t bend at any time through the arc.

If you have to, practice this cut on some scraps. Cutting at a taller depth through a larger piece of wood is a little bit different than cutting a flat piece of wood. You definitely have to go a lot slower, and you have to pay attention to where the blade likes to wander.

See Also: 10 Reliable Tips for Buying a Cheap Bandsaw

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Joining the Pieces Together

Once you make your cut, all you need to do is take the pieces and switch them. This means the piece that used to be on the bottom, just place it on the top in the same orientation. Now, if you were to glue these pieces of wood together, you’ll have one curved piece.

So, that’s your next step. Check your surfaces and make sure that they can clamp together really well without any gaps, then spread some glue, and clamp them together. Allow the glue to cure for the full duration of time recommended, and then remove your clamps.

If you’ve done this well enough, you’ll notice that the seam between the two pieces of wood is almost invisible, and that’s the goal. The Maloof joint makes one piece of wood cut into two pieces look like one piece of wood again in the end, And that’s pretty cool.

See Also: 6 Genuine Reasons You Need a Jointer Planer in Your Shop

Sanding and Finishing

Once you take off the clamps and examine your joint, it’s time to scrape off any excess glue and then start sanding. Use a chisel or cabinet scraper to remove any large portions of glue, and then switch to sandpaper to smooth it out.

Take your time with this part of the process, because the better you prepare the surface, the better your results and finish will be. Finishes do not hide imperfections, the amplify them. If something looks wrong now it will look worse under a finish.

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If you’re not ready for finishing quite yet, just sand the piece really well, and then start building with it on your project. Once your project is done, at that point you can do your final sanding and then apply a nice finish.

See Also: 17 Important Tips on How to Sand Wood

Sam Maloof Joint Tips and Tricks

Here are a few tips and tricks to help you with the Maloof joint.

  • Make sure that the top and bottom surfaces of the piece of wood you select are very flat. You can run them through the planer first on both sides in order to clean them up before you make your cut to separate it into two pieces.
  • Take your time on the bandsaw, you definitely don’t want the tool to wander, which can ruin the final look of your joint.
  • If you select a piece of wood it’s fairly clear looking, you can almost guarantee that you won’t be able to see the joint in the end. That’s awesome, because it makes it look like you have one curved piece of wood instead of a piece cut into two and glued together.
  • Practice this a few times first with scraps. It’s pretty easy, but it definitely goes better after you practice it a few times.

Your Action Assignment

Now that you know all about the Maloof joint, and you understand how to make it yourself, it’s time to get out into the shop and take action. All you really need for this exercise is a piece of wood, some glue, and some clamps.

Since you likely already have everything you need in your shop, there’s definitely no excuse for not heading out there and giving this a try. It’s a lot of fun, you’ll really like it, and you’ll end up using this technique a lot when you need to create a curved piece of wood.

If you have any questions about making the Sam Maloof Joint and creating curved pieces of wood, please post a question and I’ll be glad to answer them. Happy building.

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  • More than 20 Years Woodworking Experience
  • 7 Woodworking Books Available on Amazon
  • Over 1 Million Words Published About Woodworking
  • Bachelor of Arts Degree from Arizona State University
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