Several readers have asked what a Roorkhee chair would look like with canvas seat covers. This week we finished up a pair of these chairs for a customer who wanted us to strive for the most authentic look from the early chairs in the late 1800s.
Finding canvas is one thing. Finding canvas of the right weight, color and weave is another. I have an old military machete sheath that is made of just the stuff we wanted. So Ty Black went out one day to a massive fabric warehouse to compare and contrast.
He got lucky.
The good news about canvas is that it is much cheaper than leather. This stuff – a remnant – was $4 a yard. So we bought all they had. The bad news is that it is a lot more work to sew it and get it right.
Some interesting details about this chair:
• We riveted the seams of the back with No. 10 copper rivets. We had to use that longer rivet because the material folds over a lot at the seams. It looks great, however, and was worth it.
• We put a buckle and strap on the rear of the seat cover for the back. This allows you to put on or remove the back cover when the chair is assembled. It also gives you some control over the lumbar support.
• All the buckles on this chair are a black malleable iron. We picked them up from a place that sells supplies to the saddle industry.
• The arm straps are an oiled latigo. This is our favorite leather. We bought it from Wickett & Craig, and you have to have a wholesale account to buy from them.
• Using canvas for the seat covers shaves off considerable weight. I’ll be interested to see what these chairs weigh when we pack them up for shipment.
Bottom line on the canvas: If you have someone in your harem/circle of friends/church group who sews, then this is an excellent option. If you are on your own, I’d opt for leather seat covers. They cost more, but they require less skill and tooling.
One more thing: Several people have inquired about who might supply finished seat covers for their Roorkhee chairs. Ty, who sewed these chairs, is happy to provide that service. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
— Christopher Schwarz