Roorkhee chair on Safari

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Project by Coils posted 08-19-2015 01:49 PM 960 views 1 time favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I saw the roorkhee chair on LJ’s over a year ago when I first joined, and luckily I managed to find the plans in the popular woodworker. I had a year to finish four, before our trip to Mana pools on the Zambezi river. Although I have the woodworking parts finished for all four I unfortunately only managed to “upholster” one for the trip, which I did in Leather. I decided to do a trial run using fir as I was sceptical about the comfort and convenience of these chairs and didn’t want to use teak on something that didn’t work for me. – Well that and I was unsure as to whether I would do these justice.

I had to make the dowels by hand, for which I made a router jig for my lathe. I have an old Black and Decker lathe set up using a drill which my father gave me 40 odd years ago. It still works but is far from ideal. I found it difficult to get a clean round dowel with both machines on, so decided to do all 16 dowels by turning the lathe by hand and passing the router over them. I then sanded them on the lathe and managed to get them all the same diameter (well close enough), I turned the legs on my lathe which was surprisingly easier than I thought it would be, again I was happy with the similarity of each leg. I got the leather from a leather supplier to the shoe industry, and he had a guy who kindly sewed the leather for me for a minimal fee. I got the tapered tenon cutter and the reamer from Lee tools via mail-order which took a few months (not cheap but I didn’t want to do these by hand.)

In all I am very happy with my efforts. These chairs are not cheap when you compare them to the store bought aluminium camping chairs I currently have. But I did find the chair stable and very comfortable, easy to put together and take down plus it sits nicely on uneven ground. It was easy to carry which was fortunate as I had to put it away every night as the Hyenas would have made easy work of the leather. They also pack away neater than the aluminium chairs which makes packing the trailer less of a mission!! I did find the leather stretches quite a bit – It may be the leather I used was not strong enough (or perhaps I should lose some weight!) I will do the others in canvas and then decide which is the better. Some stretch is nice as it moulds to the shape of your body which contributes to the comfort of the chair. I will eventually give these to friends and make some better ones out of Zimbabwe Teak for the family which will allow for thinner legs and struts and IMO a neater looking chair, the teak is also resistant to termites. These are great for sitting by the river fishing or watching the game go by. I included one photo of our daily visitors.
Best wishes to you all and thanks for looking.

-- Forest Grump

2 comments so far

View kaerlighedsbamsen's profile


1168 posts in 1132 days

#1 posted 08-20-2015 02:02 PM

Great- looks a bit scary with the elefant…
Thansk for sharing!

-- "Do or Do not. There is no try." - Yoda

View sepeck's profile


314 posts in 1559 days

#2 posted 08-24-2015 02:51 AM

Nice work. I’ve enjoyed mine. Though I too need to finish the other three…..

I suggest before you begin the remaining ones, check out the various blogs by Chris Schwarz. He has made some slight changes over time in his approach on strapping materials and some patterns are available.

-- -Steven Peck,

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