Friday, March 6, 2015

Camp chair and Devil's Backbone

Once upon a time I came across a small chair for sale on the internet.

Photo via Wood&Faulk
Amazingly, the list price for this item is $165 before shipping. Which is absurd. I was mad enough to use my internet powers to find the guy who would put such a value on a simple stool. When I found him, my opinion softened because he seems like a cool guy and he wrote a tutorial how to build the chair. So I decided to make my own instead of being an internet complainypants.

I started with Ash shovel handles instead of the hardwood dowels he prescribed. My reasoning is that these are a bit thicker and therefore less likely to split under sheer strains and they're already sanded smoother and treated with a weatherproof lacquer. I scored them with a knife and cut them with a Bahco Laplander camp saw (it's a great little tool that's well worth the price).

Pivoting hardware was installed following the tutorial

For the seat, I decided to do a combination canvas/leather. It's a bit more laborious than using a single piece of hide, but cheaper for me. I got a bag of leather scraps and synthetic sinew from a craft store and the heavy cotton canvas comes from old saddlebags that a previous employer was throwing out. I cut equilateral triangles from the leather scraps and drilled the hole pattern to make the sewing easier. Sewing through the leather and two layers of canvas was tedious, but I have zero fears that the materials or my workmanship there will be the source of failure.

Finished chair, about 2 years later
For mounting the seat to the legs, I chose galvanized finishing washers and weather-proof decking screws instead of the soft brass hardware he recommended. I had intended to also do a blanket stitch around the raw canvas edges to reduce fraying and keep the layers together, but it doesn't seem to need it. It also doesn't need that dumb lanyard/leash that the original has. This chair is nearly 2 year old now, including a deployment to Afghanistan, and still going strong. It's an easy little perch to move around the yard or garage. I haven't calculated my time or materials invested, but I'm pretty confident it's less than $165 even if you include the cost of my drill.

Devil's Backbone

This Tripel from Blanco, Texas-based Real Ale Brewing Company pours bright like a golden shepherd with almost no head. It's got light carbonation with a floral and fruity flavor that embodies the abbey style. BeerAdvocate reports 8.1% ABV and it's masked well. I find finishing the larger 22oz bottles of Belgian-style ales to be somewhat difficult by my lonesome, so this 12oz size is more convenient. Definitely a great value for your money if this style is something you enjoy. 

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