The Apollo I and II prototypes

This is Apollo I :

3 views of the Apollo I wheelchair (photomontage)

Produced by Paul in the spring of 2022, this is the “proof of concept” for the innovation he has devised, making it possible to produce a new generation of wooden wheelchairs.

The Apollo I chassis weighs 9.1 kg. It is made up of 46 components hand-cut from 15mm-thick okoumé plywood, which is resistant to water and humidity.
Apollo I has a “closed” frame, with 2 arms linking the footrest to the lower edge of the seat.
The rear wheels have a camber angle (inclination of the wheel plane in relation to the median plane of the chassis) of 3° to improve manoeuvrability.
Their axles are positioned in front of the backrest to allow the user to tilt the wheelchair backwards whenever they wish, to overcome obstacles for example. This aspect is characteristic of so-called “active” wheelchairs.

Apollo I is a made-to-measure wheelchair, designed to fit Paul’s body precisely. It has no armrests and a low backrest, to Paul’s liking.

This is Apollo II :

3 views of the Apollo II wheelchair (photomontage)

Apollo II was completed in early 2023.

It uses mainly okoumé plywood, but also includes a few pieces of birch plywood, and its footrest was cut from an industrial scrap of carbon fibre sheet.
If the wood appears lighter, it’s because, unlike Apollo I, the varnish on Apollo II is colourless.

The Apollo II ‘open’ chassis weighs 7.2 kg.
As with Apollo I, the rear wheels have a 3° camber and are positioned forward of the backrest.
A flexible, adjustable textile strap has replaced the wooden footrest at the user’s ankles.
The positioning of the seat cushion has been improved and a backrest cushion has replaced the padded backrest cover. This makes the Apollo II a particularly comfortable wheelchair.
It is equipped with locking brakes that its predecessor did not have.

Click here to see Apollo III, Pope Francis’ wooden wheelchair.