Windsor Chairs, Tables, Benches, Stools and other contemporary furniture, made to order by


Start with the log. The log is split lengthwise with an axe and wedges, then split again into smaller pieces, using a froe until the resulting pieces are suitable sizes for the various parts of the chair. Splitting the wood by hand with an axe ensures that the pieces are straight grained, making them very strong, and is referred to as riving the wood.

Shaping the wood. The pieces of split wood are then shaved to size, and shaped into the back rail, arm rails and spindles on a shaving horse, using a drawknife, spokeshaves and planes.

Bending the wood. After shaping the back and arm rail, they are placed in a steambox until pliable. They are then quickly bent (within a minute) around a wooden form to make the shape for the bow back and arm rail.

Turning the legs, stretchers & armposts. Using pieces of split wood, the legs, stretchers and armposts are turned on a lathe.

Shaping the seat. The seat is made from a slab of wood, 2 inch thick. The bulk of wood is first removed using an adze. The final shape of the seat is then refined using a variety of tools including inshaves, scorps, travishers, compass planes and scrapers.

The Chairmaking Process

straight from the log...............................

Harvesting the wood. John harvests his own wood, either from his own land or from other woods in the nearby area. After felling the tree, it will either be cut into lengths appropriate for legs and armposts, or milled into 2 inch boards for chair seats. John uses an ironhorse to move the the logs out of the woods. In this way, John is able to move the tree without taking heavy machinery into the woods.

Putting it all together. Tapered holes are drilled in the finished seat for the legs, armposts and spindles which are then placed through these holes and aligned. The stretchers are cut to length and placed between the legs. The legs and armposts extend through the seat, and are glued and wedged for maximum strength. The spindles extend up through the back rail and are also wedged and glued.

Aligning the arm rail, bow and spindles requires careful calculations and is done by eye.

Finishing the chair. Once assembled, the spindle and leg ends are trimmed with a chisel. Hand planes, scrapers and sandpaper are then used to achieve the final smoothness of the chair. Chairs are finished with milk paint, which is a non-toxic paint with a low lustre finish representative of original Windsor chairs. With use it forms a nice patina.

A top coat of natural linseed oil is then applied to give a protective and very durable surface.

Every chair is initialled by John before leaving the workshop.