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In June 2012 I taught a furniture design class at Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina. Penland is a fantastic place with the best facilities, staff, students, and perhaps most importantly: Food! But, I digress.

Christina, a Canadian designer who has a passion for furniture making was one of my students whose achievements ranked among the top in our two week class. Her goal was to build a three-part oak chair that could be folded down. The mechanism of this chair/coffee table was simple and elegant: The legs were compressed to the seat with a pivoting wooden knuckle hinge and were pulled tight with the help of a rope.

To make these robust hinges, Christina began by thickening the rims of the seat edge and the “U” shape legs-rails trio. She shaped the amalgamated wood into a long cylinder-like form using the table saw and hand tools. After this she cut the needed opening in both sides of the hinge’s leaf. Following this she drilled a hole for the hinges’ pins. The pins were made from threaded rods and were secured on each end with a concealed nut.

To secure the chair in it’s installed position, Christina incorporated a tried and true mechanism that was initially fashioned to tension bow saws. By placing a cleat in between the two tensioning ropes and twisting it, the distance between the “U” parts shortens and the legs compress neatly into the seat sides. 

I can’t wait to see what Christina will make next..

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