Windsor Chair

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Project by tinnman65 posted 06-24-2019 09:06 PM 472 views 2 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Making a Windsor chair has been on my bucket list for some time. I think what inspired me was going back to traditional building methods and making a project completely by hand or should I say nearly all by hand as there is a lathe involved. I would have to build a shaving horse and research the building process so it was always put on the back burner. My wife and I planned a vacation trip this year to John C Campbell folk art school. As it happens they offer a class on building a Windsor chair. This chair is the product of that class. I have gained a new respect for the folks that make these chairs. Every part of this chair was shaped with hand tools with the exception of the legs which we turned on a lathe. The chair back is white oak, the seat pine, and the legs hard maple. We all worked late most nights for a week but we all finished including a retired gentleman that hadn’t touched a woodworking tool since High School. I put on a traditional milk paint finish and covered that with shellac.

I’m pretty happy with the results. I will say that to build one of these chairs to a high standard you really need more time than a week, more experience, or both. But it was great fun and I can definitely see myself building a shaving horse, steam box, and a few jigs and giving it a go again with a little more elaborate chair and also a lot more attention to detail. If you have ever wanted to build a Windsor chair and find yourself in Brasstown North Carolina check out John C Campbell School. It was a fun time with two great instructors, Tommy Boyd, and Brian Cunfer.

-- Paul--- Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. — Scott Adams

12 comments so far

View Druid's profile


2100 posts in 3217 days

#1 posted 06-24-2019 09:15 PM

Looks like an excellent, well crafted piece Paul.
Congratulations, but 3 hours from now, Madburg will suggest that you ”make the other three together with a couple of arm chairs”. Back to the workshop.
Fine work Paul.

-- John, British Columbia, Canada

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

3887 posts in 1004 days

#2 posted 06-24-2019 10:23 PM

Nice looking chair, Paul. I hope to build one myself some day.

-- Dave - Minneapolis

View Redoak49's profile (online now)


4051 posts in 2411 days

#3 posted 06-24-2019 11:21 PM

I am impressed as this takes a large amount of craftsmanship to complete.

View oldrivers's profile (online now)


1723 posts in 1989 days

#4 posted 06-25-2019 12:33 AM

Very good looking chair, congraulations on a job well done.

-- Soli Deo gloria!

View madburg's profile


227 posts in 1265 days

#5 posted 06-25-2019 01:16 AM

Looks excellent. So you are now ready to make the other three together with a couple of arm chairs….......!!!!!!! A simplistic yet ellegant traditional chair design, that found its way around the world. Here’s a few pictures of some Japanese ‘Windsor’ chairs, I saw in Matsumoto on a recent holiday to Japan.

The design was introduced their in the aftermath of WWII and became very popular due to their traditional handmade nature. They are still made in Matsumoto.

-- Madburg WA

View LittleBlackDuck's profile


2854 posts in 1243 days

#6 posted 06-25-2019 01:28 AM

Great effort tin’ie…

Slyly slip in another one and hope that one bucket list write off does not deplete ones fulfillment expectations and longevity.

Like mad’die said… you gotta get off you’re rrrs and make a few more else you’ll either be playing musical chairs or stacks on the mill.

Nice looking chair, Paul. I hope to build one myself some day.
- Dave Polaschek

AND one for your sweetie DP...

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

View swirt's profile


3971 posts in 3394 days

#7 posted 06-25-2019 02:14 AM

That came out very nice. Well done.

-- Galootish log blog,

View tinnman65's profile


1385 posts in 3836 days

#8 posted 06-25-2019 08:50 PM

Thanks for the nice comments on this chair. I really hope to build a few more for no other reason than it is a really comfortable chair. I was surprised by how much I like sitting in it. It is no wonder that they have been making them the same way for so long if its not broke don’t fix it :)

-- Paul--- Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. — Scott Adams

View Peteybadboy's profile


802 posts in 2371 days

#9 posted 06-25-2019 08:57 PM

That was on my bucket list too. I bought a great book on building them. I sould give the book to someone that needs/wants it. They style no longer fits out home in fla. You did a great job!

-- Petey

View Andrek's profile


487 posts in 2332 days

#10 posted 06-25-2019 11:36 PM

that is something outstanding , bravo and thank you for posting.

-- andrek

View shipwright's profile


8320 posts in 3220 days

#11 posted 06-26-2019 02:06 AM

Well done Paul.
It looks awfully good for a first try. Your future builds will undoubtedly be absolutely awesome.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View Ivan's profile


14669 posts in 3289 days

#12 posted 06-28-2019 04:05 PM

Real classic – nicely sculptured – amazing woodworking skill.

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

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