NYC Bow Back Windsor

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Project by MrHudon posted 07-20-2010 10:48 PM 2171 views 2 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I recently attended the NYC Chair class at The Windsor Institute and was faced with a positive fan base stemming from my wife and a freshly cut ash log in my backyard. There was no other option than to test my newly developed skills and build a couple more chairs.

The original “couple” of chairs quickly turned into a little less than ten. The fan base now includes a full table set for the wife, one for each daughter and two more for an interested (buying) customer. The two in the pictures are what I’m currently working on. They are being built without the brace spindles.

It’s amazing how pliable fresh cut ash can be, as the bow on the finished chair was formed without any steam. It has to be beginners luck though, because the next two bows broke. I’m not in the process of building a steam box to bend the remaining bows.

This is the first chair I built while not in a class; it has been a both a challenging and rewarding experience. Only 8 more (and counting) to go!

-- Mark,

13 comments so far

View schloemoe's profile


709 posts in 3910 days

#1 posted 07-20-2010 10:55 PM

Nice chairs… long does it take to build one…............................Schloemoe

-- schloemoe, Oregon , http://www.

View MrHudon's profile


114 posts in 4182 days

#2 posted 07-20-2010 11:21 PM

Thanks, schloemoe I didn’t keep track of the time to cut up the log for the bow and spindles. Being the first chair made at home there were a lot of start and stops to make fixtures, jigs, and to check my notes from class.
I really need to keep better track of my tiime.
I bought the legs already turned, formed the seat, bent the bow, carved all the spindles, assembled it.
Maybe 16-18 hours for this chair.

-- Mark,

View F Dudak's profile

F Dudak

342 posts in 4783 days

#3 posted 07-20-2010 11:29 PM

Awesome Mark!! Keep on building those chairs!! Sounds like you will become an expert at this one! Enjoy!

-- Fred.... Poconos, PA ---- Chairwright in the making ----

View PurpLev's profile


8642 posts in 4621 days

#4 posted 07-21-2010 12:01 AM

looks fantastic! sounds like a fun class. I can only imagine…

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Grant Libramento's profile

Grant Libramento

176 posts in 3952 days

#5 posted 07-21-2010 09:08 PM

Nice bowback Windsor.

-- Grant, Tryon, NC

View kenn's profile


813 posts in 4692 days

#6 posted 07-22-2010 06:44 AM

Bucking down a log is real work for a real man! I try to get my son to do the hard part for me, but I’m impressed you tackled it. Good job and have fun with them.

-- Every cloud has a silver lining

View a1Jim's profile


118153 posts in 4549 days

#7 posted 07-22-2010 06:46 AM

View ryno101's profile


388 posts in 4637 days

#8 posted 07-22-2010 02:08 PM

Looking good! When you coming over to deliver my set of 6?


-- Ryno

View ShannonRogers's profile


540 posts in 4760 days

#9 posted 07-22-2010 09:59 PM

Mark, nice work! I have built two sack backs and like you only one outside the classroom walls. My first was in a much shortened class where the bending and turning was already done. I have long been interested in venturing up to Mr. Dunbar’s school and I am curious how well prepared you felt building your own from log to chair from what you learned in class. Obviously the chair looks good but I wonder if you could comment on the take away from the Dunbar experience.

-- The Hand Tool School is Open for Business! Check out my blog and podcast "The Renaissance Woodworker" at

View MrHudon's profile


114 posts in 4182 days

#10 posted 07-24-2010 07:33 PM

Ryan a set of six would look great on your new deck : )
Thanks everyone!!
This was the third class that I had taken from The Windsor Institute.
Mike does have a prerequisite that everyone’s first class is his Sack Back.
My second class (last summer) was the Continuous Arm which is very similar to the most recent class (this past April) the NYC Bow Back.
For me after the first class I think I was a little overwhelmed and it took some time to process everything that I had learned. As you know, there is a lot that goes into building a chair, besides that, there were all tools I needed to acquire learn to sharpen and use correctly. Spokeshave, drawknife, pommel knife, scorp, gutter adze, etc, etc…
It was after the second class that I felt like I could build a chair on my own. Once I realized that nothing is square and most of the dimensions that we start with when building a chair are for reference only, the uncertainty but not the challenge went away.
Approach with confidence and you will succeed.

Bucking the log was my bright idea, nothing I learned from Mike. I had the log and needed some bows and spindles so what the heck, how hard could it be? (very)
Being a novice I probably made more work for myself, but where can you go and learn how to buck a log?

I also bought the turned legs as does Mike. He teaches traditional handmade Windsor chair building and he feels that in the heyday of chair building a chair maker would have also bought their turning from a turner.

Would I take another class? Most definitely, Mike is a great teacher as is his staff.
It is a lot of fun, you meet other great people who share your passion, and you have the full support of the Windsor Institute to help you become a great chair maker.

Fred who commented above has taken a few classes; we were in the C-arm and NYC together. Kenn has also taken some classes, check out their various posts for their perspective.


-- Mark,

View jerryo's profile


135 posts in 3935 days

#11 posted 07-30-2010 12:27 AM

Great job Mark.

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3839 days

#12 posted 08-06-2010 02:11 PM

Mark, that is a very nice piece of work. The lines of that chair are so graceful and crisp. You have acquired a very nice talent. When it comes to making chairs, especially a windsor chair, I wouldn’t have the foggiest idea about where to start. Great work. Thanks for showing this.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3839 days

#13 posted 08-06-2010 02:24 PM

Mark, I just went to look at some of you’re other work and also visited your website. You really do very nice work. Since this is the sort of work that I would like to learn how to do your projects are a real inspiration. Thanks

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

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