I recently undertook a workshop to make leather and wood safari chair. It has an interesting history from the days of the English empire when the British Army officers identified a need for rugged, sturdy and simple furniture. The ‘Roorkee Chair’ as it was called, named in honour of the Indian Army Corps Engineers located at Roorkee, was lightweight, could be folded up, carried around easily and loaded onto a packhorse.
As I was making this chair it became so obvious that this was an engineering masterpiece, using minimal materials easily available at the time. It required the skill of leatherwork, woodturning, careful measurement, an aesthetic eye and overall attention to detail.
It wasn't until the last few hours as we assembled the multiple wooden and leather pieces that the sheer visual beauty of this chair became apparent. And luckily the piece is comfortable as it shifts to suit our body shape.
Congrats to Melbourne Guild of Fine Woodworking and teacher Hugh Anderson for a challenging class with a lovely outcome.