My mailbox has been deluged with questions about the Roorkhee chairs that will be featured in a fall issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine. The No. 1 question: What does a woodworker need to do to get ready?
No. 2 question: Do I need a lathe to make the chair? No. You can use a drawknife and a gouge to shape the legs. But these legs are easier to turn than the simplest pen. So give it a whirl. Or ask a friend to show you how.
No. 3 question: Where do I get the leather and hardware? OK, we’re all friends here, so I’m going to clue you into some inexpensive sources for very nice stuff.
For leather, check out the stuff at Brettuns Village Leather. I just received 55 pounds of leather (five sides of cow) for my next run of chairs and couldn’t be more pleased with the price and the quality.
Check out the Crazy Horse sides, which are $85 delivered. A side is enough to do one chair and then some. These are dyed a beautiful chocolate brown on one side and are undyed on the other. And the stuff is soft like a broken-in leather jacket. But heavy enough for the chair.
Also cool: The Gridiron Sides. I ordered these because they are waterproof. Very tough stuff, but still flexible enough to work on this chair. Also $85 delivered. Brettuns has some other beautiful sides. Look for something that is at least 3 or 4 ounces thick. One side – about 22 square feet or so – will be plenty for a chair and allow some goofs.
What about buckles? You’ll need some buckles for the optional straps that join the legs. Or for the left-to-right strap under the seat. Or for attaching the back. Installing the buckles makes the chair easier to assemble and disassemble. And it makes the leather adjustable if it stretches a lot.
I’ll post some videos on making buckles for the chair in a future blog entry. Until then, here is a good source for well-made buckles: Buckles International.
The good news is that these buckles are very well made and inexpensive – as low as 32 cents per buckle. The downside: there’s a $25 minimum order and you have to order a bag of 10 buckles to get the item. I ordered 40 buckles to get up to $25. So I’m set for the year. (I might be making people belts for Christmas gifts this year.)
These buckles are made in Taiwan. I ordered the 49-B 1” buckle for the understrap. And then a variety of 3/4” buckles for the strapping on other parts of the chair: the 75-Z, the 121-Z and the 999. Note the materials listed for each buckle. I bought brass buckles and stainless wire buckles – all with a nickel finish. I’m not a fan of zinc die-cast hardware (for the most part).
So there you have it: A jump-start on the project.
— Christopher Schwarz
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