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Tools to Make a Roorkee Chair

Gathering the tools and materials necessary to make a Roorkee chair might seem intimidating because of some of the unusual operations (riveting?). I think the list of necessary tools is pretty manageable and reasonably priced – nothing too exotic. When students ask me for recommendations on what they should buy, here is my list....

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Now Available: Build a Campaign Chair Video

One of the most influential chairs of the 20th century was built and designed by an anonymous craftsman in Roorkee, India. Whoever built the first “Roorkee” chair in the late 1890s was trying to supply the military forces of the British Empire with a lightweight camp chair that could be taken to pieces in...

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The Roorkee Bed?

With my latest book, “Campaign Furniture,” I’m at the very titillating stage of processing several gigabytes of scanned images of furniture that I’ve gathered from musty British catalogs. Many of these high-resolution images take several minutes to process, and so I abuse my friends with annoying text messages about Pepsi Max and acorns as...

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Visiting the Wellspring of Campaign Furniture

This week I’m in England doing research for my next book, “Campaign Furniture,” and spent today geeking out with Sean and Simon Clarke of Christopher Clarke Antiques – the world’s leading dealer of campaign antiquities. The Clarke brothers have handled thousands of pieces of campaign furniture built during two centuries of the peak of...

A "Robo" bench I am building with the help of "Lee-Nelson" planes.

Things that Get Mispronounced in Woodworking

When you learn woodworking through reading – books, magazines and websites – you often have no idea how certain words are pronounced. And so when you finally encounter fellow woodworkers in the flesh and have a conversation, there can be a language barrier. Here are some of the common mispronounced words I have encountered at...

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Building a Forgotten Classic from Kaare Klint

For the last few years, I’ve studied the world of campaign furniture and the history of the Roorkhee chair, an English form of military seating that appeared in the last days of the 19th century. Most people have never heard of the Roorkhee. But many people have seen the chair that evolved from the...

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Plans: A Simple Bowsaw

While I have used a lot of bowsaws in the last two decades, I’ve never made one. But during the last few weeks, I’ve made five. The reason is that I fly to Germany on Friday to teach a couple woodworking classes. One class on building Roorkhee chairs, plus a one-day class on how...

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Wait, Leather Already?

With this class in building Roorkhee chairs, I bit off way less than I could chew. After the second day, we just have to finish up a couple details on the leather and metal work before we start finishing the mahogany. Tomorrow, I hope we will finish all the chairs with shellac and black...

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5 Bowsaws Later

I leave for Germany in a couple weeks to teach classes on making Roorkhee chairs (piece of pie!) and bowsaws. Yup. Making bowsaws. You’ve probably seen my international treatise on bowsaws: “Bowsaws: An Anthropological View of Three Sticks and Some Cat Innards.” No? Well that’s because I haven’t written it. I’ve used and owned...