Windsor Legs, Posts -- Don't Give Up Hope!

  • Advertise with us
Project by WhattheChuck posted 12-01-2008 03:07 AM 2161 views 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Well, since I’ve been running around the world, quite literally, haven’t had much time to get back on the Windsor pony and get to my Boston side chairs. I did, however, get back into the shop over T-giving and finished up turning the legs and side posts for the two chairs I’m building to go with my new dining room table.

Wife wants all the same kind of chairs, but I think that will be too boring—but I decided to build two Boston side chairs, and paint them blue and mustard yellow. So, here are the turnings, finally done!

I am a relatively experienced spindle turner. But I had a heckuva time with spiral chatter with this project. I did use a steady-rest for the posts (I have a Oneway) and it is indeed quite nice. But even after the skew work, there was sanding. Yes, there was. The wood used was hard maple.

FWIW, it took me about 1 hr./leg, and about 2 hrs. for the posts. Not fast enough to be proud, but I got ‘er done!

Here are a couple of thoughts for folks looking to do this.

1. Make good templates. I did, and it saved me a ton of work. I copied a chair leg picture out of the book I used out of the book by John Kassay, and after gluing it to thin plywood, cut the template in half. This makes it easier to mark out the legs on the spindle blank while it is on the lathe.

2. The most important thing across legs is vase shape. Vases can be more squat on the end, or less. Your eye can tell the difference. It can’t tell the difference if they’re all the same, though you may favor one or another.

3. Make sure to add extra on the ends so you can make the stumps protrude out of the seat.

4. Keep the whole leg as thick as you can during the turning. Turn the small stuff last, or alternately, turn the modal points (the fractions 1/2, 1/3, 1/4 of the length) while the piece is thick.

Next step, finish carving the seats—I am relatively INexperienced seat carver, so that will be the real challenge for me! Wish me luck, and of course, I’ll post the results!

-- Chuck, Pullman, WA

4 comments so far

View kenn's profile


810 posts in 3650 days

#1 posted 12-01-2008 03:22 AM

Very nice. I know what you mean about the vase shapes and I find it takes some practice and skill to get them to look alike when lined up next to each other. Of course, on the chair it takes a close examination and a trained eye to spot the differences. I don’t point out the differences to my wife so she won’t notice :)

Do you turn all beads and then cut the coves into them? This is what I have done but I don’t know if it is the “right” or best way.

Have fun, those chairs are getting there.

-- Every cloud has a silver lining

View WhattheChuck's profile


287 posts in 3491 days

#2 posted 12-01-2008 03:30 AM

Hi Ken,

First, I true the blank and make it into a cylinder.

Then, I cut whatever is thickest, or whatever is nearest the nodal points. There are reasons for this. All the time, I am trying to limit vibration. You get the max vibration amplitude (just like a guitar string) at the nodal points, or harmonic points. This is not so important when things are thick. It becomes VITALLY important when things are skinny.

So—I cut the largest bead. Then, because it is thick, and next to the nodal point, I cut the adjacent cove. Then I do the taper on the bottom part of the leg. Then back to the main vase, then I work on the vase and details toward the seat-end of the chair.

I can’t remember the sequence for the post, but I did a lot of serious soul-searching when I turned the first one. It was not easy, and I did turn most of it with a skew. Once again, I worked on minimizing vibration using the same strategy. Turning with a gouge puts a lateral displacement/loading on the spindle, and really gets it whacking around—even with a steady-rest.

-- Chuck, Pullman, WA

View F Dudak's profile

F Dudak

342 posts in 3741 days

#3 posted 12-03-2008 01:39 PM


Looking good! I will have to try my hand at this in the near future. Looks like I won’t be making any more leg comments if you keep this up! If the rest of the chair looks as good as these you’ll definitely have some nice chairs. Keep plugging and you’ll get er done. Looks like you had a great Thanksgiving!

-- Fred.... Poconos, PA ---- Chairwright in the making ----

View TTom's profile


5 posts in 3345 days

#4 posted 01-20-2009 06:36 AM

Hi Chuck,
I’m trying to build a C-Arm Windsor. I went to a class two years ago and I’m ready to turn my own legs and arm posts. Can you give me any advice on the procedure. I am a new turner.


-- Tom, Springfield, TN

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics