A Kissing Cousin to the Roorkhee

The Roorkhee chair is like my Catholic spouse – everyone in town is a cousin, second cousin or great cousin.

Here’s a real interesting Roorkhee cousin: A gunsmith’s chair that is on the showroom floor of William Evans Ltd. in London. These photos were taken by Australian woodworker and blogger Glen Rundell.

Though the William Evans chair has a lot in common with the Roorkhee (wooden frame, leather seat, portability) it also has different bones. Instead of breaking apart, this chair folds up like a chair at a church picnic. It has a framed seat and back instead of a simple piece of loose leather. And I could go on about the bamboo turnings and arms.

But I won’t. Bottom line, the two forms have a lot of attributes in common.

— Christopher Schwarz

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Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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6 Responses to A Kissing Cousin to the Roorkhee

  1. abtuser says:

    I think Gielgud and group used some of these as set pieces in the movie ‘The Charge of the Light Brigade’.

  2. David Pickett says:

    There’s a sort of evolutionary pattern emerging, here. The Roorkhee (breaks down into bits, some of which could go missing) evolves into the ‘Evans’ chair (in which the bits don’t come apart, so are less likely to go walkabout), and thence to the modern(ish) deckchair or fold-up portable chair. Replace the ‘bamboo’ with bent aluminium tube, and the leather with nasty slippery plastic, and the devaluing of an elegant design is complete.

  3. Brian O. says:

    I am thinking I will start with one of these:


    which would seem to be precursor of all these forms. I think you can replace the bolt and eye-bolt in the stool with a rope or leather lashing and get back a few more centuries.

    Thanks to Chris, I now know where to get the leather for the seat (Gridiron, I think).

    I can’t wait for the article to come out!


    • lostartpress says:


      That stool is from Roubo, actually. The awesome little innovation on the version you linked to is the hardware. Using the eye bolt GREATLY simplifies the hardware from the original, which was a three-way bolt you had to solder yourself. VERY VERY clever.

      I’d keep the eye bolt arrangement. The originals used bolts.

      Thanks for the link.


  4. J Blue says:

    What happens to bamboo when you try to steam it to bend it. Do the air pockets explode ?

  5. Kevin Wilkinson says:

    When I first saw your Roorkhee chair I thought of the Kermit chair:


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