I like Morris chairs – Lord knows I’ve built enough of them to change my middle name to “Morrie.” But this evening I finished up work on a chair that is lighter in weight (less than 10 lbs.), just as masculine (leather!) and is (gasp) even more comfortable.
It’s called a Roorkhee Chair, and it was one of the staples of the British army between the Boer War and World War II. It weighs almost nothing, packs down into a small canvas bag and its lines influenced generations of modern chair designers.
There are many versions of the Roorkhee Chair out there, I selected this one to recreate for an upcoming issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine because it requires few tools, scant wood and the leather work can be done by a complete newbie. (I should know because I did all the leather on the chair and needed to buy only two cheap tools to do it.)
Heck, you don’t even have to own a lathe to build this chair. With just a little creativity and a strong will you can make the legs with a spokeshave and a couple rasps.
No matter how you go about building this chair, the result is worth it. The back tilts to accept your shoulder blades. As you lean back, the seat’s back presses and supports your back. No matter where you put the chair, it settles into a stable and comfortable stance because there is no fixed joinery – everything adjusts itself to accommodate the terrain and the sitter.
And it took me less than a week to build it.
So if you haven’t renewed your subscription to the magazine perhaps it’s time. Your back will thank you and there are several upcoming articles from me on Campaign-style furniture.
— Christopher Schwarz
P.S. The chair also will make cats desire to make out with you.
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