Chippendale School Students Learn to Make Britain’s National Chair, the ‘Windsor Chair’
Tom Thackray, the UK’s leading Windsor chair maker, has just spent a week teaching woodworking students at the Chippendale International School of Furniture how to make Windsor chairs.
He first met Anselm when he was running his Thomas Chippendale School in South Carolina then Oregon, and has been coming to Scotland to the Chippendale School for the last 15 years.
Tom introduces the students to the Windsor chair, Britain’s national chair, at his short lectures on their history. During the week, the students make a stick-back Windsor chair. Using local ash, they learn to turn, bend and drill the wood. One of the most challenging stages is drilling the holes.
“The Chippendale School is the best furniture school in Britain. I’ve worked in America and Japan but this is the only cabinet making college in the UK where I run my Windsor chair making course.
“I can’t believe the diversity of woodworking techniques they learn here. The students learn a lot here and there’s a wonderful mix of different cultures. Some of the work they do is stunning, but they can only do it because of the quality of the woodworking teaching staff.”
A Windsor chair is built with a solid wooden seat into which the chair-back and legs are round-tenoned, or pushed into drilled holes (source: Wikipedia). The seats of Windsor chairs were often carved into a saddle shape for comfort. Traditionally, the legs and uprights were usually turned on a pole lathe. The back and sometimes the arm pieces (if there any) are formed from steam bent pieces of wood. There are seven distinctive forms of Windsor chair.Read More