Chris Schwarz's Blog

Assemble a Roorkhee Chair

Building a Roorkhee chair is one thing. Assembling it without looking like a lowly private is quite another.

In the October 2012 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine, I showed you how to build the chair, however there wasn’t enough space to show you how to best strap the thing together in the field. Everyone who has tried it has succeeded – it’s not that hard – but it takes a few times before you can do it with panache. And with a cup of tea in one hand.

I’m assembling six Roorkhee chairs this weekend to send out to customers and shot this short video for them – and for you – to show you how I assemble them.

I’m sure someone out there has an even faster or classier way to do this. If so speak up.

— Christopher Schwarz


For more on campaign furniture, see Chris’s article in the August 2012 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine.

13 thoughts on “Assemble a Roorkhee Chair

  1. pgslaugh

    I just got the newest issue just for this plan! I wanted to ask about wood choice. I have access to walnut locally and would rather not use oak or the much pricier mahogany. I wondered if walnut would be a viable option.

  2. lhowland

    I was pleasantly surprised by the Blue Grass Music in the background. Wonderful choice. Don’t hear that too much up in Michigan. Keep it up Chris !

  3. andrae

    I don’t mean to be a negative nancy, but that’s an awful lot of steps to assemble a portable chair. Is there an intermediate level of breakdown for storage after you’ve put it together the first time, so that it’s not so involved to set up afterwards?

    1. Christopher SchwarzChristopher Schwarz Post author

      You might think otherwise if you saw the chairs that preceded Roorkhees that were used by the British military on campaign. Or worse, the French.

      Imagine carrying a La-Z-Boy recliner on your back.

  4. Fair Woodworking

    I see that in the video you are assembling a chair with the belt straps on the seat support (like the last pic in the article) vs. the 2 leg straps in the main article (and cover picture). Is it just a case of one being easier to make, and the other easier to assemble? Or is there much of a difference?

    Happy Canadian Thanks Giving! (We celebrate early because by late November it’s just way too cold to be thankful for anything…)

    1. Christopher SchwarzChristopher Schwarz Post author

      Both approaches are historically correct. I prefer the single leg strap that buckles below the seat.

  5. Steve_OH

    I must be missing something. I thought that by the time you had dismounted and walked into your tent, your chair, along with all of your other furnishings, would have been assembled and arranged “just so” by your manservants, no?


      1. john.snyder

        No, the end vise. The one I saw had a quick release where you’d slide the jaw up to the clamped object and then crank the lever about 1/4 turn to tighten it up. I was really interested in it but didn’t want to buy the bench it was attached to…

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