Building Traditional Windsor Chairs

We offer 2-4 person courses for intermediate to experienced woodworkers who want to build fine chairs. We demonstrate and practice traditional green woodworking techniques, from splitting out logs and spindle shaving, to seat carving, steam bending, leg turning, and hand joinery. Together we will progress step by step, and take the time to get it right. All materials and tools will be provided, and students leave the class with an assembled chair that will last a lifetime.

Our workshop is located on the family homestead in Woodbury, VT, and is filled with the history of decades worth of chair making.

For an in-depth overview of our course, take a look at this article in Northern Woodlands, by Stephen Long or this post by Nicolas Esposito.

Course Dates for 2019:
February 8 – 15 -- Arm Chair -- FULL
May 25 – June 1 -- Arm Chair
June 9 – June 15 -- Side Chair

July 7 – 14 -- Arm Chair
July 29 – August 4 -- Side Chair
September 23 – 29 -- Side Chair
October 14 – 20 -- Side Chair
November 4 – 11 -- Arm Chair

*we also offer some flexible dates - please contact us for additional scheduling options

*side chair classes are open to all woodworkers
*arm chair classes require previous chair making or similar experience

*please contact us for available housing options

 

Balloon Back

Fanback

Continuous Arm

Sack Back

Comb Back

 

7-Day Side Chair Courses - $1500

8- Day Arm Chair Courses - $1800

Side Chair Course Schedule

*** This a rough outline - the pace of the class will be adjusted as needed

***The Arm Chair course schedule is the same, but with an additional day. Due to the added components and complexity, some steps will take longer and have to carry over to the next day.

Day 1 - We start the week by riving spindle blanks from a white oak log, learning the strategies and techniques for the basis of most green woodworking - follow the grain! By the end of the day we will have shaped all of our spindles on the shave horse using the drawknife and spokeshave.

Day 2 - Building on the techniques learned in making spindles, pieces for back bows or crests are riven from white oak and shaped on the shave horse. The pieces are then steamed and bent over wooden forms to dry and cure.

Day 3 - Because of the time and practice that turning requires, we will spend a full day working on the lathe. By devoting an entire day to lathe work, the student can complete a full set of bamboo style turnings. I will walk you through the basics of bamboo style turnings, demonstrating and watching your technique throughout the day. Our turnings are made from straight grained hardwood. I do the rough turning in advance so that you have time to get down to the finer work.

Day 4 & 5 - The seat of a Windsor is it’s most defining feature, and most complex component - ours are carved from a single plank of eastern white pine. Carving progresses methodically step by step - layout, drilling leg holes using bit and brace, fitting legs to seats, roughing with the adze, shaping with the inshave and drawknife, and smoothing with the travisher and spokeshave.

Day 6 - Assembling the undercarriage! We start the day by mapping out and drilling holes for stretcher mortises, and bang everything together using hide glue and wedges. The feet of the legs are scribed level, and trimmed, followed by cutting the tops of the legs flush to the seat.

Day 7 - Final assembly! Back pieces come off their forms, and are tenoned to fit the seat. We give the spindles their final cleanup and shaping, and then dry fit everything (a lot of pieces have to come together at once, so this dry-run is critical). Once we're certain that everything will assemble smoothly, it's time for more hide glue and wedges.

Build a Windsor Footstool 
$300   

This two day hands-on workshop is open to all experience levels. Students will progress from splitting out a log through a completed bamboo style turning, and use hand joinery techniques to fit their turned legs together into a durable and beautiful addition to any home.

Please call or email to schedule a class, or with any questions you may have.