I'd like to make some chairs similar to windsor chairs (solid wood
bottoms with stick legs and back). I know I'll need some green wood.
What set of hand tools will I need to make the construction
I haven't done this myself yet but when I do I will enroll in the John
Campbell school. I have seen what they can do in a week and they have
an excellent winsor chair program.
no affiliation, just a satisfied customer (shaker boxes)
Wedges to split the planks
Bowsaw to cut out the seat
Froe and mallet to cleave the sticks and legs
Brace and shell bit to bore the holes
Drawknife and shavehorse to rough the sticks
Pole lathe and hook/gouge to turn the legs
Scorp to contour the seat
Steam box to heat the back
Former to bend it
Spokeshaves to clean up rounded members.
Glue and wedges
In summary, tools minimal, skill-of-hand, considerable.
The nearest I've personally done is a captain's chair, which doesn't involve
steam bending. To bring things up-to-date, you'd want to make a compound
angle jig for your drill press to ease the seat boring (as I did) - the old
boys did it by hand-and-eye, but they had many thousands of chairs practice.
Before you tackle it, you really ought to read Michael Dunbar's book, Make
a Windsor Chair with Michael Dunbar, if you're after the Americam slant on
Windsor chairmaking. Or Jack Sheppard's book "Country Chairmaking" of you
want to do it properly, the authentic British way.
Did I just start a Revolution there? :-))
Best of luck,
My wife and I just recently finished a Windsor chairmaking course (I
made a sack-back and I'm sitting on the bow-back my wife made). In
addition to the tools listed below we used a tapered reamer, adze, a
couple different axes, and some "rounder" planes (much like a pencil
If you plan to make some chairs I would definately recommend trying a
course. There's many tricks and tips a chairmaker can give you that make
even the difficult parts seem easy. I drilled the 42 compound-angled
holes for the back spindles by hand (with brace and spoon bits) quite
easily and quickly after being shown how. I think it would have been
more difficult and taken longer with jigs and a drill press.
By the way, I had read Mike Dunbar's book before taking the course, but
there's no substitute for experienced instruction.
Frank McVey wrote:
I invite you to please take a look at our web site
we teach several Windsor chair classes with Blaine Berry and also a
Welsch stick chair with Don Weber "The Bodger". We have all the tools
here at the school and I would be glad to answer any tool or
techniques questions that you might have. Thanks, Mike from American
Having only a semblance of relationship with this topic, is there anyone
out there who has watched the TV show "Happy Family" and can tell me
where I can find for purchase the kitchen chairs used on the set?
They are Windsor in style, but the top of the back is slightly
flattened, not a continuous round curve. I've looked in most of the
brick and morter stores in my area and online for this style but can't
find them. :-(
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