Project #2 - Burke 116 Chairs Build


I’ve got 3 varieties in my “briefing room”. Two 115s with Ralph Miller backs and triangles, a 103 and 3 116’s with bar stool height and foot rings around them. They came with red vinyl seat pads which are not present in this photo.

I thought I should share since I’ve read through the thread with interest and haven’t seen the bar stool type yet.


The barstool type would make an excellent workbench or lab chair, very nice!


I don’t see a 103 in the screen-cap either and I own both a 103 & a 115.


And a bar stool type, amazing.


I’d have to agree that we’re seeing 115’s as the base, and someone grabbed the chair back for the 116 (the one with arms) and stuck it on there. The 116 “Captain’s Chair” with arms was usually reserved for the Captain in the briefing room. And the chair back for the 116 flares out considerably at the bottom, so they are not interchangeable with the 115.

(I own four 115’s and a 116 – with Ralph Miller chair backs in black and a couple in checkerboard fabric.)


Turns out I saved some pics of the converted Burke 103 Ralph built about a year ago…


“Burke Lite” – looks great, less filling!


I just noted a nice example of the Pike chair on Ebay right now (use search terms “Madison” and “Umanoff” if curious. It is missing one arm, but I think one could be fabricated by duplicating / mirroring the other side. Not sure about the “Ebay” policy here, so won’t say anything more; I can say that it is NOT mine, and I am sorely tempted by it, but you have to draw the line somewhere and, um, my wife just drew it. :slight_smile: All kidding aside, I drew the line myself. Its not exactly dirt cheap, but probably not bad either for a piece of mid-century modern furniture.

Also noticed Ralph Miller is auctioning a lovely Burke 115 bridge chair as well. :wink:


Since the chair sold since I posted about it last night, I figure there’s no harm in showing the link now. I think the armrest is similar to / the same as those used on “lesser” Umanoff designed chairs and could be obtained perhaps from a poor example. I think someone got a nice deal, hopefully a Trekker. For some time, I’ve thought that this chair inspired the backs that were added to the Burkes for the series.


New here, And I realize this topic is a bit stale, but better late, as they say. I just became the proud owner of a 116, that appears, on first examination to be in pretty fair shape. It does swivel but does not return. The propeller has seen some wear but the seat is in excellent shape. I appreciate the hardware research and sourcing and while I don’t know that my chair has original hardware (countersunk machine screw into the weld nuts but no washers), it’s nice to know where to go to get stuff that will work. I do plan on breaking down the base to see if the swivel / return is broken or just old and stiff from no maintenance. As I am in the process of picking up 4 115’s, this will come in handy as the 115’s are in less then fair condition. Anyway, thanks for all the information about this pretty cool chair!


Welcome aboard!
I’m getting ready to do a 115 and 116 as well, I don’t think there is more info on the inner workings of the Burke chair anywhere else on the net. Good luck and please share your progress.



Welcome to the Fleet Stewart.


So anyone know what ever happened to @Kosmiceggburst he started this specific Burke thread strong and completely disappeared before finishing.


I’ve rebuilt the swivels, they are pretty simple once you get them apart. I recommend getting new stainless hardware from McMaster Carr. The reason for the swivel not returning is the spring and ball bearing assembly. A lot of mine were rusty and gross.

Usually it takes a new spring. The originals will have bent or broken, letting the ball bearing that rides on top of the spring to fall out, or otherwise jam up. The ball bearing rides in a little plastic cup on top of the spring. That can fall apart too. The cup was the hardest part to replace for me. I found little metal cups at the hardware store that fit in the top of the new springs I bought. The cups I used are axle push nuts. They fit on the end of an axle rod to hold on a wheel for something like a hand truck or dolly.

It’s really satisfying making them brand new and smooth swiveling again.

McMaster Carr has the ball bearing thrust washers that go above and below the swivel shaft. They also have the weld nuts. Pretty much everything needed except the push nuts. They may have those too, I looked but couldn’t find them.


Could you post links to the replacement parts that you found?



I would love to see some photos of the inside of the swivel mechanism.


There are some pics of my swivels at post 130 in this thread. Also Kosmic put links to the hardware.


McMaster Carr is the source. While not links, this is my part number list for most of the hardware for the 115 / 116 chair. With the exception of the bearings / washers, it’s all stainless.

Stainless Steel Round Base Weld Nuts - 90860A110

Passivated 18-8 Stainless Steel Phillips Oval Head Screws
1/4"-20 Thread, 5/8" Long - 91802A539

Counter sunk external tooth lock washer - 90900A030

Needle-Roller thrust bearing, 5/8" shaft, 1 1/8" OD - 5909K32

Washers for the thrust bearings - 5909K49


Thank You @oldsmokey