The turnings on the Roorkhee chairs I build are beyond simple – easier than pen turning, to be sure. But some woodworkers simply do not want anything to do with a lathe. For those of you who fall into this camp, here are some ideas.
1. Get over your fear/dislike of the lathe. It’s a fun machine, whether powered by foot, indentured servants (e.g. children) or electricity. This would be a fantastic first turning project.
2. Pay someone to turn the legs for you. There are lots of production turners who could bang these legs out in about an hour.
3. Make the chair with legs shaped by other tools. As shown in the photo above, in the 1930s version of this chair made by Kaare Klint, the makers omitted the cylindrical turning near the top of the leg. The shape at the foot could be made with a drawknife, spokeshave and a gouge or two.
Then there are the chairs shown below, which have a “Land of the Lost” feel to them – kind of mid-Chakka, if you ask me. I think they look clunky, so I’d opt for one of the three choices above.
— Christopher Schwarz