Saturday, April 12, 2014

A Chair made by me

Simple upholstery, simple design and shape of an old, sturdy sofa set in my workplace front office found my profound liking.  Its back rest and seat were 'softly firm', just ideal for comfort. The set must have been in use here for may be 40 years and it has not asked for any repair till now!  See recent picture of me enjoying the comfort of that chair.

In our house, except for the reclining chair there were no other chairs to lean back and relax. The other half a dozen chairs were higher with their backs also straighter.  I wanted to make one because and also wanted to feel how good it is to make it myself!

Some left over teak wood pieces from a 1989 cot-project [made by a carpenter] seemed to just right if I made the chair.  So I set about this project without a second thought and took a week's leave from work.

I noted down the sizes in my rough drawing. The left overs were insufficient and so I bought the remaining ones from a timber merchant.  I got the L-grooves cut in a nearby saw mill to embed the plywood.
I now had the time, drive, design, tools and materials.

Planing took a long time because this was the first time I was taking such a big project!   Then, I sawed the pieces to size and joined them.  The portions for the back and seat were first made and when I looked at it, something was wrong, weirdly wider than I had intended! Since the dimensions were only in the mind having failed to measure the width of my office chair with a tape, this silly thing had happened!!  The only option now was to cut one side and join again!  Phew!  So I cut a good four to five inches off!  Extra work!  Height was not a problem as I had got a guide-measure from the one at home.  Intentionally I reduced the angle for the back to my chair. 

What a seasoned carpenter could do in a day, I took 4 days. I realized how important proper measurements would be when we begin!   There were no electric tools at that time, easily available or affordable. 

The first person to sit on the new chair was my tiny daughter.  Though I had a film camera at that time, it did not occur to me to take pictures of it.  The little one's gaping expression "what is he doing to me?" is in memory.

Here are two images of the chairs side by side:

I got two cotton pillows made after sanding and applying two coats of varnish.  The chair now looked royal! This project gave me great pleasure. I showed with pride to most visitors who would not believe.  "YOU made it?", was the expression that usually followed!  [And also I have made several other little things from smaller pieces of wood, but they will be in another post.]

Gopinath, who was a wonderful family friend and former tenant, lived in his own house after his retirement just a shout away.  He would drop in every now and then and admire this chair.  He had named this as "Maharaja's Chair"!   It was looking slightly wide even after I had reduced the width!  He always used to say that it would properly fit the Mysore Maharaja, who was a very fat person!

My grandfather receiving a trophy at Mysore Sports Club, 1966 [?], from the Mysore Maharaja [Sri Jayachamaraja Wadiyar].  See what Gopinath meant!

I have spent many hundreds of hours on it, mostly listening to the radio beside which I had kept.  It turned out that the 'extra' width enabled me to even sit in my favourite posture, sitting cross-legged and my knees rested on the arm-rests!  No photos of me. My children too enjoyed this chair, which had become my very favourite. 

In 2009 due to property division, pressure for space was created.  Suddenly there was no proper room for this chair and some other furniture as well.  The best was to shift them to 'Anandavana' where regular spiritual and social activities of World Teacher Trust are conducted.  A new set of pillows were made for The Maharaja's Chair, there.  The Masters give their talks seated on it.  

The Grand Master on it, 2012. 

Latest picure, taken after another group talk.  2014.

This is the best satisfaction after making the chair, seeing spiritual maharajas sitting on it and giving discourses! 


  1. Me thinkest that the 'master' should have given that chair to his wife to sit on. It looks very comfy, Dinu! His wife should have the more comfortable chair.
    Wonderful job! It's all in the slant of the back, combined with the slant of the seat. I have similarly favorite chairs on our patio - slants just right.

  2. Reading the whole thing now, I got the impression that you did it only very recently......and then seeing your daughter on it seemed anachronistic....if that is the word to state that the timing of your daughter being a babe and 'you taking leave last week' to make the chair, but the Grand Master sitting on it in me so confused......that I am feeling 'old'! Not that I am not, though. All said and done, it dawned on me that it was done after 1989 some time...because you used that left-over-wood! You have done a marvellous job (but then so long back when even you were a young carpenter), that my complimenting you for the job, well-done, may seem very belated Congratulations. Be that as it is, a nice job done in at least now 'blogging' for 'tis better late than never.

  3. वाह भैया..........छा गए। एक और नई और विलक्षण उपलब्धि। कमाल है........ आप तो वास्‍तव में "दिमाग की बत्‍ती" जला कर रखते हैं। बधाई।
    आपकी बचपन की तस्‍वीरें भी सुंदर हैं। लगे रहो मुन्‍ना........ Oh! No......''दीनू'' भाई हा..हा......हा....

    1. Thank you Ramesh. Hope you see my other posts also.


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