The third and final term of our students’ nine-month furniture design course was kick-started with a week of intensive woodworking, learning the art of Windsor chair making under the guidance of Britain’s leading Windsor chair makers, Tom Thackray and his son-in-law Steve.
The making of Windsor chairs involves a whole range of woodworking skills that, once learnt, will be invaluable to our students in their furniture-making careers. First, the seats are shaped using a ‘travisher’ and various degrees of sanding.
The rods at the back of a Windsor chair are known as ‘sticks’ – as opposed to spindles – and are shaped from thick to thin by forcing them through a specialist lathe.
Traditional woodturning skills are used to form and shape the legs.
A Windsor chair is a joy to behold and a pleasure to own. They are chairs that become loved over time and passed down from generation to generation. They make wonderful gifts and, because they can be handcrafted in any size, they can be made for men, women and children – and they can even be built as rocking chairs. Additionally, a whole wealth of design features can be added, including the carving of personal details into the ash wood, making each chair absolutely unique.