Hardware for pivoting seat back | Roorkee Chair/Safaristol

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Forum topic by livewire516 posted 11-21-2021 04:45 PM 216 views 0 times favorited 0 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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120 posts in 1199 days

11-21-2021 04:45 PM

Topic tags/keywords: chair bolts brass danish modern campaign

I am making a Roorkee Chair/Safari Chair, and I’m trying to find a better option for the hardware used for the pivoting uprights that form the seat back.

Chris Schwarz, who’s done an amazing job renewing interest in this design, recommended a 3” long, 5/16” diameter carriage bolt captured with a brass locking hex-nut (with nylon inserts).

This works well enough, but I’m hoping to find a better option. Most importantly, I’m making the chair for my cousin who was smitten when she saw mine. She’s pretty fashion forward and loves her handbags, so I suspect it’s the details related to the leather and hardware that’ll delight her most. Up until this point, I’ve been buying the above-mentioned carriage bolts in bronze, but it doesn’t go well with the polished brass hardware throughout the rest of this specific project. Brass would be ideal, but I think steel would work fine too if I polish the head.

Here are the options I’m currently considering:

Threading my own rod stock.
The majority of the shaft doesn’t actually need to be threaded. I can’t help but think the seat back with pivot more smoothly bearing on unthreaded rod stock. There actually seems to be a little thrust caused by the threads that eventually loosen the hex nuts on the inside. I myself don’t mind re-tightening the nut every now and then but with my cousin having kids and pets, I’d like to figure out a way the capturing nut stays put (I’ll resort to Loctite if need, be but that means it couldn’t be taken apart by hand anymore).

This isn’t something I’ve done before, but I’ve inherited my late grandfather’s machinist tools. I’ll have to rummage through a few boxed but I know there were a number of taps and dies.

Carriage Bolts or Elevator Bolts

I can find 3 inch bolts in brass (expensive) or steel, but I’m having a really hard time finding partially threaded ones. In reality, it’s not a big deal that it’s threaded in the leg of the chair, but I’m hoping to find either a threaded metal sleeve (or perhaps unthreaded nylon/delrin pipe) for a good bearing surface on the seat back. I think elevator bolts look better, closer to the Danish Modern look in the photo above, but once you get around 3” in length, the head of the bolt can begin to get too big.

Clevis Pins

Her late father was a hot-rodder and raced on the drag strip. I think a clevis pin, retained with a cotter pin and washer, could be a nice nod to him (especially because he taught me to work with my hands). In practice however, I’m not sure how the seat back could remain firm since the leather will be in tension will be pulling toward the cotter pin. Perhaps it would need a groove and retaining ring.

My cousin is an only child and sees me as her brother. I really want to knock this one out of the park for her. Since so many other details in this chair have been figured out in the woodworking community, I’m willing to spend some time head-scratching and experimenting to improve on this component. I’d love to hear the communities thoughts!


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