Jim's Rising Chair

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Introduction: Jim's Rising Chair

About: I'm a health care professional, amateur astronomer, author and occasional car and motorcycle mechanic.

First off, I'd like to make clear that the design of the Rising Chair is not mine. It was the product of the genius of Robert van Embricqs, who won the RedDot Design Award in 2011 in the Netherlands for this design.

There is a propensity in the furniture design and manufacturing business to poach ideas without apparent liability. Le Corbusier's Chaise Lounge and the Eames Chair have been copied by so many manufacturers for so many decades with impunity, supported by a buying public who are happy to have scored a deal. Even though the Rising Chair is a relatively young design, I'm aware of at least one American designer who has shamelessly copied the design and marketed it as his own under the moniker of The Arania Seat. Yet counterfeit Gucci or Hermes bag are prosecuted with vigour.

Step 1: What Is a "Rising Chair"?

The Rising Chair doubles as a piece of static art as well as a truly functional chair that can be folded flat and conveniently stored as a thin sheet of wood. Originally constructed in teak or ash, I wanted to make one out of something that would withstand the harsh Canadian climate and allow year round outdoor usage. And to see if I could reverse engineer the design as well!

Step 2: Materials

37 one inch square tube aluminum, 60 inches in length

148 white plastic ends caps to fit aluminum tube

37 3/4" high hinges

148 #4 machine screws

2 four foot length of 3/8" diameter metal threaded rod and nuts

scrap lumber to construct jigs

Step 3:

The chair is made of 18 pairs of aluminum square tube with one central lone tube making a total of 37.

Each five foot length of tube must be cut once, precisely according to the chart and all ends cleaned up and finished with a white plastic end cap. A 3/8" hole is drilled through two sides of each square tube (the two tubes resulting from each cut) and a simple jig was fabricated to ensure the hole is drilled exactly in the same spot for each tube. The tubes are arranged in mirror fashion, #1 through #18, then #19, and then #18 through to #1.

The two halves of each square tube are attached on the surface that has does not have the 3/8" hole drilled with the 3/4" hinges by tapping and screwing in #4 sized machine screws, again facilitated by the construction of a simple jig to keep the pieces perfectly aligned.

Hopefully you will have read this Instructable completely before starting construction because I discovered these hinges are not strong enough to sustain the weight of a human adult. One inch high hinges are too wide since they will rub against neighbouring aluminum tubes and interfere with the easy opening of the chair. Luckily Metric sized hinges are available, and 25 mm high backflap hinges work perfectly, they are slightly smaller than the width of the aluminum tube. The head of the hinge pin does need to be ground flat to keep the total width less than that of the aluminum tubes and larger #6 machine screws are needed.

Step 4:

With all 37 tubes lined up, they are attached together by running the 3/8" diameter threaded rod through both ends. Then by standing the slab of aluminum tubes vertically upright, the chair can be opened into its deployed, sitting configuration.

Total cost of the chair will be about $500 with many materials bought in bulk on eBay.

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38 Comments

Amazing! and Beautiful!

It's so beautiful, and thank you for posting this. But I have to say, I don't think anyone's butt is going to be comfortable sitting on that for longer than a photo shoot.

2 replies

I can imagine the chair being pretty comfortabel. Especially if you like to put in a cushion if you like it more cosy. I'd also like to build this one out of hardwood. Maybe it adds a bit to being cosy. Anyway, great design and implementation!

It is actually very comfortable to sit in!

Well, as far as I have tried, it is really quite comfortable. A well fed North American butt does help.

It is a beautiful chair but is it comfortable to sit on for any prolonged time? I would think that with the 1" spaces between the slats it would feel uncomfortable after a while.

wow! really great project although it is very expensive in terms of cost of materials. I suppose it may be possible to make it in wood for a little lower cost. but thanks for sharing this wonderful idea.

1 reply

I understand. Though price is a relative quantity. The original, signed by the designer, sells for 2700 euros in Amsterdam.

I'm not clear why it doesn't slide flat. Is there something tying the front rod to the back rod while it is in use?

2 replies

It's just the friction between the ground on the two ends that keeps the chair from collapsing when sat on. For that reason, it won't work on a smooth surface like a ceramic tiled floor (I know from first hand experi-dent!)

hahaha! (laughing, assuming only a minor pain)

What a beautiful project! I commend your integrity in identifying the design owner. I only have 2 questions. 1) I can't see where you've identified the spacing for the 3/8 inch thru-holes. From the picture of the jig, I'd guess it to be about 3/4 of an inch in from the end. (?) 2) If one was to use hardwood, would 1x1 be substantial enough or should I try a 1x2 perhaps? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Dave

1 reply

Yes, the 3/8" hole should be about 3/4" from the end and I think a solid 1x1" wood strut should be strong enough, in some sort of hardwood.

I love the design. Is there a way to make the back more upright? I prefer to sit with my back a bit more vertical. Any idea what adjustments would be need to which lengths to achieve that?

1 reply

I believe if you shorten the cuts in the even numbered struts, you will have a more vertical back.

omigosh! coolest, most STYLIN' piece o' furniture i've ever seen, jim!! x^D

GORGEOUS chair!!!! Do you happen to have a diagram of the layout of the pieces according to size? That would be helpful :)

2 replies

I added a photo that might make the layout more clear.

Thank you Jim :) The additional info is most appreciated.

how much weight can it hold? I would probably be making a wooden version.