This afternoon we finished up a mahogany Roorkhee chair in black leather with some changes to the strapping and arms that you might find interesting if you plan on building one for your home.
The leather is “Black Ridgeline” from Brettuns Village and it is beautiful stuff. It has been dyed entirely through, so the cut edges are as black as the exterior. The Ridgeline is quite supple and feels like a 20-year-old leather jacket.
That’s the good news.
The Ridgeline is only 4-ounce stuff, so it’s a little thin (about 1/16”) and prone to stretch, especially in the seat and arms. So we did a couple things to make the leather work.
1. We added a polyester liner between the two layers of the arm pieces (you can glue it in place with rubber cement or a special contact cement for leather). This liner reduces stretching with thin leathers without adding a lot of bulk.
2. Instead of sewing or riveting the seat, we added three buckles so you could pull the seat tighter if the leather stretched. The belting is 3/4” wide.
As usual, we used the No. 9 copper rivets at the stitched seams.
All in all, I’m quite pleased. And I hope the customer will be, too.
— Christopher Schwarz
P.S. If you are using the vegetable-tanned leather I recommended in the article in Popular Woodworking Magazine, then stretching is not a big concern. It holds its shape quite well.