I have been making traditional English Windsor chairs for over 25 years; the process of making has changed very little since they were made in the early 1800’s in and around High Wycombe. I am one of the few craftsmen left in the country to use these age old traditional techniques.
Always uppermost in my mind is to retain respect for those established traditions, but I have taken chair making many steps further in making them more comfortable by carving the seat deeper so it becomes a chair to ‘sit in’ not perch on, also I steam-bend the back spindles –depending which chair is out of Yew or Ash- to give a lumber support, most welcome if my customer has a back problem.
No two chairs are identical as each is custom made to my customer’s requirements. I like to get people away from the idea that Windsor chairs are only made to be used in the kitchen, I make my chairs finer and lighter so they can and do grace many fine homes around the country.
I use all British timbers – Elm for the seat – Ash for the upper frame, bows, back and arm spindles, also under frame legs and stretchers, if requested I use Yew for the upper frame making a higher quality chair. All timbers I use come from sustainable resources. I use a Bobbin-Bow Lathe to turn legs, short arm spindles and stretchers using the wood green giving a finish that does not need sanding.
All curved and bent parts of the chairs are steamed for approximately one hour, then gently pulled round a former to get the desired shape. I use traditional sharp, chair making tools to fine shape and finish my chairs to give the unique and individual appeal.
If you would like to visit me in my workshop, you are most welcome, please phone or email, to make sure I’m around, when you come I could be turning ‘round parts’ on my Bobbin – Lathe,(no room for a Pole-Lathe) or I could be ‘steam-bending’ bows and spindles, maybe even finishing a chair, waxing and polishing.
Once an order has been placed, I custom make each Windsor chair to fit a person’s ergonomic stature. To commission a chair can be done either by email or personal visit to my workshop or events / shows I attend.
How a Windsor chair is made – With completion of chair comes a personalised Photo album, provenance showing how I made the chair, location maps showing where I sourced the Ash, Elm and Yew. Also I sign and date the chair.