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.