Roorkhee Chairs, Day 1 (Then What?)
Most classes I teach end up being a “dovetail death march” (in a good way). There is a lot of traditional joinery, late nights, sore feet and little hope of finishing the project in five days.
But this class on Roorkhee chairs at Kelly Mehler’s School of Woodworking promises to be different.
If we don’t get too drunk tomorrow at breakfast, we should have these chairs done inside of four days. So we’ll get to mess around with making a stool (the kind you sit on; not the kind you leave) and who knows what else.
This year I have been trying to push students into implementing their own designs in my classes. So we spent an hour reviewing many of the Roorkhee forms than have been cropping up during the last 110 years. Then I asked them to design their own legs — they could be Scandinavian modern, pure 1897 or something else.
The cool thing is that many of the students took the bait and didn’t just design a chair that looks like the original one I showed last year in Popular Woodworking Magazine.
This class also represents several “firsts” for me. This is the first time I’ve taught turning in a classroom setting. Thanks to the Easy Wood tools most of us are using, the transition from furniture maker to turner was a quick one. I’ve been using these tools since I bought my set three years ago. While I like my traditional turning tools, I adore my Easy Wood Tools. (No, they don’t pay me to say this. Or give me free tools. Or a discount. Or even a free pencil.)
The other first: I think I am going to get to teach some finishing. This chair uses my favorite mahogany finish – garnet shellac and a black wax.
And leather work. And riveting. And shotgunning a beer. Pole dancing. Marmoset gelding.
So stay tuned.
— Christopher Schwarz