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Thread: Folding Camp Chair, Photographs and Measurements

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    Near Gettysburg PA
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    Default Folding Camp Chair, Photographs and Measurements

    Enclosed are photographs and measurements for a Civil War period folding camp chair that I purchased two days ago, in case anyone wishes to try their hand at making one. On the back of the chair it says, "Colasanto & La Porta" R J Harris", there is more written there but I can not read it. This chair appears to be very typical of folding period camp chairs. I used to own four folding camp chairs, one with arms and the others without, but unfortunately sold them when money was difficult.

    Where the inner and outer legs pivot there are washers not only at the inner side supporting the end of the rivet, but also washers between the legs. The only curved part of this chair is the piece at the top of the back. Washers are located at ends of rivets, screws are used to hold the blocks of wood together that hold the seat material at each end. The legs and the upright portions of the back can be either lathe turned from flat/square stock or shaped with a draw knife. The chair construction could conceivably be simplified further for construction by a beginner by using flat members for the four legs, and store bought dowels for the two uprights in the back, the bottom-most cross member, and blocks of wood for all other cross pieces. A flat piece of wood could even be used for the top of the back, although not as decorative or comfortable in use.

    Widening the cross pieces can widen the chair according to a person's needs. Using heavier/thicker wood for legs and cross pieces can also be used to increase strength, durability and stability.

    I recommend the book titled, "Civil War Woodworking" http://www.amazon.com/Civil-War-Wood...8681053&sr=8-1 and the August 2012 issue of Wood Worker Magazine for further information on constructing period furniture . While I have not yet read or purchased the book, it is on my list of books to acquire.

    I am sharing this information in the hopes of advancing the hopes that we can work towards reducing the number of modern and odd-looking chairs at reenactments and living history events.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by David Einhorn; 07-27-2012 at 04:08 PM.
    David Einhorn, Author of the book titled, "Civil War Blacksmithing" available from Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/Civil-War-Blac...+blacksmithing

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    middle TN
    Posts
    67

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    That might be a B. J. Harrison chair. Here is a link to the 1866 patent: http://www.google.com/patents/USRE28...0chair&f=false
    I recently acquired one. On the back is an impressed "B. J. Harrison Mfg. Co. Arkville, NY"
    Trish Hasenmueller

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Near Gettysburg PA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trish Hasenmueller View Post
    That might be a B. J. Harrison chair. Here is a link to the 1866 patent: http://www.google.com/patents/USRE28...0chair&f=false
    I recently acquired one. On the back is an impressed "B. J. Harrison Mfg. Co. Arkville, NY"

    Thank you for the information. There are a few minor differences between the chair in hand and the patent. The main difference is a wood strip at the bottom of the bar labeled "b" in the diagram to hold the material. I used to have more than one chair without that wood strip, "b" was, if memory serves me, round instead of flat on the bottom.

    I guess we will have to wonder why they reissued the patent of a previous patent.

    These old patents are interesting. There is an 1865 patent (http://www.google.com/patents?id=Cyc...0forge&f=false) for example that tries to patent "innovations" that were already seen in use in an 1863 photograph of a forge with those features on the deck of the monitor Lehigh. The result is that the patents are great for documenting technology of the time, but some patents may be the attempt to patent stuff that has been around for a while, sort of like when people were rushing to patent computer technology already in use such as the computer keyboard, etc. To be generous, we could assume that folks like the ones patenting that forge design may not have known that those features they were trying to patent had already been in use for several years.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    David Einhorn, Author of the book titled, "Civil War Blacksmithing" available from Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/Civil-War-Blac...+blacksmithing

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Danville, IN
    Posts
    9

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    Looks like a neat little project chair to make. Could use a few of these for even regular camping. I am pretty handy with wood and may give if a try. There's a couple of places in indianapolis that sells period material for the seats too.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Williamstown, W.Va.
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    David, do you know what the wood is? It's difficult to tell for sure from the photos, but I'm guessing we can rule out walnut and oak.

    Thanks for the book plug, by the way! One small correction, though, on the magazine article-- the chair project you noted is in the August issue of "Woodworker's Journal," not "Wood Worker Magazine."

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    114

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    AJ,
    I ordered the magazine online for the chair plans from the other thread and the goof balls sent me the wrong issue. Got to send it back. Sometimes online is terrible....oh well.
    Rob

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    Near Gettysburg PA
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    Quote Originally Posted by A.J. Hamler View Post
    David, do you know what the wood is? It's difficult to tell for sure from the photos, but I'm guessing we can rule out walnut and oak......."
    I'm not very good at identifying wood. I will wipe some linseed oil/turpentine mix on it and see if I can see the wood better.


    Quote Originally Posted by A.J. Hamler View Post
    ..... One small correction, though, on the magazine article-- the chair project you noted is in the August issue of "Woodworker's Journal," not "Wood Worker Magazine."
    Ooops, sorry. I was seriously sleep deprived that day.
    David Einhorn, Author of the book titled, "Civil War Blacksmithing" available from Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/Civil-War-Blac...+blacksmithing

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Posts
    3

    Default I built a similar chair

    I have been making a chair very similar to the one being discussed. I finished it today. I'm going to try to post a picture of my chair (on the right) next to the old version that I used as a model. My chair looks bigger (taller), but I think that when the seat has had some weight on it for awhile that the chair will open a little wider and sit a little lower.



    --Whit

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