Monday, 28 January 2013

So just how do you make a chair out of cardboard?

UPDATE:  Since I wrote this post I've made a lot of progress on the cardboard chair, and here's what it looks like now:



From a purely geometrical point of view, an elephant foot stool is just a cylinder with toenails and skin.  So far, so easy.  All that’s needed is a sturdy internal support to go inside the foot, and the skin can be added on top.  The skin doesn’t need to be load-bearing at all, since that’s the job of the internal structure.  So what would make a good internal structure?  Well, I’ve always been fascinated by cardboard furniture, so I’m going to go with approximately one zillion linear meters of corrugated cardboard and old magazines, rolled into a tight cylinder.  If, like me, you work for a government department you may be able to find a stack of work publications you can turn into furniture.  The story goes that at Treasury they used to ski down piles of old Statements of Intent and I know Internal Affairs used to have boxes of the things piled in a corridor.

Believe it or not, this is overkill.  Ask your favourite engineer, and they’ll tell you that a cardboard cylinder like this is more than capable of supporting a grown adult’s weight.  As you can see, I've got the photos to prove it.  The reason you only see feet in this photo is that they're my feet, and I'm the one taking the photo.

Once the cardboard is all rolled up, it gets duct taped to within an inch of its life, because you can never have too much duct tape, and I twist some wire strapping around it.  This primarily gives the paper clay something to grip on to.  Duct tape is what's stopping this sucker from unrolling.

The appeal of cardboard furniture largely relies on the novelty value of combining two concepts that don't normally belong together, but in fact it's a very practical idea and there are a surprisingly large number of companies that sell cardboard furniture.  But why pay when you don't have to?  Go forth!  Scrounge some cardboard boxes and oufit your living room.  Fascinate your kids and horrify your significant other with the magic of cardboard furniture.  You can always blame me.