The Rhumbline Folding Chair

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Project by GlenMcD posted 03-17-2010 10:34 PM 3431 views 14 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

We were given a couple old folding chairs, they had exposed screws, some cheap pivot hardware, but a comfortable feel that surprised us. This is our first project together and we are quite proud of the quality and feel of our modern interpretation. Figuring out how to replace the bolt on pivot hinge with an integrated and aesthetically pleasing mechanism was quite a challenge. The brass rod and thrust bearings sure fit the bill. When combined with a distinctive hardwood (Jatoba) in this case, the feel is extraordinary.

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12 comments so far

View Cozmo35's profile


2200 posts in 3577 days

#1 posted 03-18-2010 12:02 AM

Nice job!! Did your dad help too? Just joking!

-- If you don't work, you don't eat!.....Garland, TX

View lighthearted's profile


142 posts in 3854 days

#2 posted 03-18-2010 12:31 AM

wow. beautiful chairs. great idea

-- Chris

View Skylark53's profile


2718 posts in 3601 days

#3 posted 03-18-2010 01:36 AM

That is a great style chair; your workmanship is great and you did a super job of selecting the wood. The smile on little “pink shoes” is priceless. Thanks for sharing.

-- Rick, Tennessee, John 3:16

View Salty's profile


76 posts in 3588 days

#4 posted 03-18-2010 01:39 AM

Beautiful chairs. I think Jatoba is my favorite type of wood.

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4640 days

#5 posted 03-18-2010 02:00 AM

This is a great design for outdoor furniture and is well executed. The wood was a fantastic choice to top it off.

Nice Job!

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View donjoe's profile


1360 posts in 3572 days

#6 posted 03-18-2010 03:14 AM

Well done. Great build on these chairs.

-- Donnie-- listen to the wood.

View Junji's profile


698 posts in 3923 days

#7 posted 03-18-2010 04:03 AM

Good job on chairs, but the best part of the 1st photo is your smiles!!! Very nice photo!

-- Junji Sugita from Japan,

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 4702 days

#8 posted 03-18-2010 12:54 PM

those are gorgeous!!!
(and I agree with the rest re: those sweet smiles!!)

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View GlenMcD's profile


4 posts in 3533 days

#9 posted 03-19-2010 01:59 PM

wow, thank you all. I never expected so many comments. It is very encouraging, I’ve wondered if what we are doing is something unique.

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3656 days

#10 posted 03-21-2010 06:49 PM

they looks great and your smile´s bring it over the top

how is Jatoba behave when you work on it with handtools
and is it possiple to see those bearing´s I´m not sure I know them


View GlenMcD's profile


4 posts in 3533 days

#11 posted 03-22-2010 01:11 AM

Jatoba is a total pain in the @$$. Resawing a 5” blank runs through a blade in ~ 70-80 feet. Router bits get pooched a little more slowly but the stuff will burn, router spindle speed is critical. Spinning a 1/2” bit over say 16500 has a tendancy to burn. Stuff sands hard, I found that 80, 120, 220 was the only way to get satisfaction. Ripping it…you’ve got to keep it moving. But…it’s simply a beautiful wood. We finished it off with danish oil…my only curiosity is a light white…fog? that forms on the surface of some parts, it’s like the grain reacts with the oil or something, just from certain angles, but certainly a kind of blush. I don’t know what that is.

The bearings are essentially a brass sleeve with a flange around the top. The inside diameter is .375, the outside for the sleeve is .5 and the flange has an outer dia of 5/8. They are 3/4 inch deep but could be cut down. We then bedded a brass rod into the chair. We dowel the chairs together so it was easy. There are two dowels in the back of the seat bottom, so the second one (furthest out) we left out, drove the hole all the way through the stile and then bedded the brass rod in epoxy as if it were the dowel… left it 7/8 long and pushed it through the thrust bearing…the trick was getting the length of the rod to be right, too long and it sticks out the side of the chair, too short and it doesn’t look like it was put together by a professional.

Oh, one last thing, we laminate the curves of 3/16 veneers, 4 of them for 3/4+ finished thickness. We cut both curved parts from the same laminate so they are exactly the same. The trouble is, Jatoba is quite brittle and if it is twisted while clamping, it’ll split along the grain, otherwise it takes the epoxy well and cleans up nicely.

Hope that helps.

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3656 days

#12 posted 03-22-2010 02:01 PM

thank´s for the info


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