Today was day 2 of our six day windsor chair class. This is always an exciting class to teach, starting off with a few logs and splitting all the wood down. Bending all these straight pieces for bows and arms always excites the students. Needless to say it also tires them out!
Most of the day was spent sitting at the shaving horse shaping the 11 spindles for the chair. Then we move onto the seat, drilling, reaming and carving.
Our goal? On Saturday everyone leaves with a finished and I mean finished chair, that is all painted and ready to go! At times the students may feel doubtful that this is possible, but this is not our first go at it, so I am fairly confident that they all will finish just fine!
Yesterday we started by splitting all the parts, we used white oak for the bow and arm. White oak is superior for bending. We are using red oak for the spindles as it splits and shaves very nicely.
There are some great resources available to chair makers these days. Including Curtis Buchanan’s youtube channel. The man has filmed every step of building a Windsor from start to finish. It is simply wonderful.
I am VERY excited about Peter Galbert’s new book coming out. Its called a Chairmaker’s Notebook, published by Lost Art Press. The book comes in just over 400 pages and there is not a single detail that Peter has left out. Every process is meticulously detailed with beautiful drawings done by Peter himself. This book will go down in history as a treasure to woodworkers of all kinds. Many thanks to Peter Galbert and Lost Art Press for bringing this invaluable book to the world.
If you are interested in taking one of our chair classes you will most likely have to wait till next year. However, I might do a ladder back chair class this year. I will keep you posted on that.
Last thing, we plan to post a video on the splitting and bending portion of this class, so stay tuned. In the mean time I will keep you all updated with our class progress.
Thanks for the blog, Frank. Wish I were there. I”ve got bits and pieces for a couple of bow-back side chairs started here, but have lots of questions about how to design it. I have got my steam box built and form made for the back bow, but I’ve spent too much time watching Peter Galbert and Curtis Buchanan videos the past week to get anything done in the shop. I’ve already pre-ordered the Galbert book from Lee Valley. They were the first place I saw it offered. When are you going to write your book?
Please let me know about your ladder back chair class. I’ve been watching your class schedules to see if you’re going to post it. I’d love to build a ladder back along the lines of the ones you built last year, or a smaller, lighter version like John/Jennie Alexander’s “Chair from a Tree”. I hope I might could do that class if you are looking for commitments.
I’ll probably e-mail some questions about my chair design, if that’s OK. Do you have a plan for a hoop-back or bow-back side chair that I could “steal” ? Especially leg hole placement and site-lines and boring angles. I’m planning to do an even number of back spindles (weird I know, but I do live in Austin now.) and a braced back, but I’m going to have to attach the back braces to the seat with a mortise & tenon joint because my seat material was too short to get both seats with braces. I guess I could just forego the braces on these two chairs. Also, how did you design / bend the crinoline stretchers that you used on some of the side chairs that you made a few years ago? any info on bending forms and measurements for those that might help? Thanks.
Have a good week.
My best to Jonathan and both your family and his!!