Comb Back Windsor Chair

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Project by Kevin Violette posted 11-16-2007 09:11 AM 3721 views 5 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I made this chair while on vacation. No power tools! No nails or screws! No sandpaper! I used oak for the spindles, crest and arms. Bass wood was used for the seat and chaerry to build up the hands and for the under carriage. I had the chair chair photographed professionally and thought the shots were just great. The photo journal for the making of this chair can be seen at my website:

-- Kevin

9 comments so far

View cajunpen's profile


14578 posts in 5518 days

#1 posted 11-16-2007 11:26 AM

Great looking chair Kevin. Looks like it would be comfortable. How did you do the spindles without a power tool? Do you have one of the string lathes? Also, why no sandpaper? Don’t mean to sound picky – I’m just curious about your thought process on finishing the chair. It is beautiful and appears well made (sturdy). Thanks for sharing it with us.

-- Bill - "Suit yourself and let the rest be pleased."

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 5613 days

#2 posted 11-16-2007 12:33 PM

I’m curious as well….
wow.. you did incredible job!

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View Dadoo's profile


1790 posts in 5443 days

#3 posted 11-16-2007 03:30 PM

Ditto! Real nice chair.

-- Make Woodworking Great Again!

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 5699 days

#4 posted 11-16-2007 04:26 PM

Beautiful chair, I’d love to make one like it. mike

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View Harold's profile


310 posts in 5300 days

#5 posted 11-16-2007 07:45 PM

I love the ends on the arm rests! I would like to try somthing similar. Thanks for sharing this!! So much history and design to draw from, congratulations. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I will reach a point in a project where I think it’s going to work, were I realize that I am really going to pull this off. For me I get alittle nervous and start thinking don’t screw this up. Takes courage to push on, wonderful, simply wonderful.
take care,

-- If knowledge is not shared, it is forgotten.

View Kevin Violette's profile

Kevin Violette

235 posts in 5316 days

#6 posted 11-17-2007 07:39 AM

Cajunpen and MsDebbeiP—i make the spindles, crest and arms from an oak log that I quarter by using a wedge and a froe driving it down the end of the log and splitting the log along its grain. Splitting the log along its grain is why the chair is so strong. Then take the froe and axe and rive off small pieces along its grain approximately 1”x 1” or so. Then take the odd shaped straight grained pieces and cut with a hand saw to the required length and use a draw knife and spoke shave to get spindles to the shape and dimensions you need. Dry the green oak pieces on a heater. Yes, they will distort slightly. After say three days or so on the heater you will be reday for them (in that time you carved and drilled your seat, turned the legs, arm posts and stretchers, assembled the under carriage, got your arm assembled, carved and drilled). You will now take the spindles and bring them to the dimensions and shape that you need again by using a spokeshave and card scrapers. I know it sounds archaic but I just love building these chairs and like I said No power tools. It takes four to five days to make a chair and at the end of the week there is absolutely NO DUST! Just shavings and chips …. which sweep up. A nice change from the usual saw dust I make from using power tools.

-- Kevin

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 5613 days

#7 posted 11-17-2007 03:44 PM

the more I learn the more I’m drawn to the shavings rather than dust!!!
I’d love to spend a week with you to learn these techniques!

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View YorkshireStewart's profile


1130 posts in 5354 days

#8 posted 11-17-2007 09:41 PM

Delightful design and great achievement. I love it.

-- Res severa verum gaudium - True pleasure is a serious business.

View Farles's profile


16 posts in 5309 days

#9 posted 11-18-2007 01:03 AM

Looks great Kevin. Looking forward to seeing it in ‘real life’ tomorrow. Amazing work with no power tools, a true testament to traditional woodworking!

-- Farles from Niagara - Woodworking, like life, is a journey...enjoy the ride!

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