12 Knuckleheads Agree


Today (one day early) we finished up building a dozen Roorkhee chairs plus their accompanying campaign stools at the Kelly Mehler School of Woodworking.

Then we sat on the lawn and tried to stay awake.

What are we going to do on the final day of the class? Can’t say, really. But it’s going to be pretty cool.

I’ve had a brief conversation with Jennie Alexander about the structure of this form of chair. Jennie, one of the authors of “Make a Joint Stool from a Tree,” had this to say:

“Years ago I owned an R chair.
It was not only uncomfortable it was downright unhealthy.
My back still aches.The spine is curved.
The back of this sucker is dead flat.
The spine has both a convex and concave curvature.
Good woodworking project.
Taken home it is unsittable.

“Take a seat Granny and feel the rotating back move
forward to meet you and turn your spine  into a plank.”
For warriors in the field, yes.
For civilians at fireside, nada.”

I would be interested to see the chair that Jennie had. I’ve been sitting in this chair for more than a year and find it quite comfortable, especially when the back is made from stiff leather (8 oz). When the chair is properly made (according to the 1898 pattern) the bend in the leather back pushes right at, or slightly above, your lumbar region.

In any case, it’s hard to argue with Jennie. I have sat in one of her chairs and it is an exquisite piece of engineering. Lightweight. Hits you in all the right places. I want to build one.

— Christopher Schwarz

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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2 Responses to 12 Knuckleheads Agree

  1. jwatriss says:

    I think your version with the multiple buckles across the back to correct for stretching would allow for not-really-plank-like seat formation. Yeah, wih thick leather, and the ability for the back to conform to your spine, I’m sure it’s great.

    And one of these days I’ll have time to make one. (Yeah, I know, 3 day project in your class…)

  2. bdormer says:

    I only count 7 knuckleheads in the picture. That makes 8 if you include the photographer.
    You’re at least 4 knuckleheads short. What have you done with them?

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