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Windsor Chairs - As Christmas Presents

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Project by usfcork posted 02-11-2016 02:54 AM 1121 views 3 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch

First, I want to thank everyone for all the posts on this forum, I am always browsing Lumberjocks to check out the awesome creations. I figured it was time for me to finally contribute my first project to the site. For Christmas I decided to make a two family members a continuous arm windsor chair. That was a bad idea, since they were just delivered in Feb….Oops.

Anyway, these are made using the plans that Curtis Buchanan sells. I also compulsively watched his YouTube videos (well worth it) for additional tricks and especially for helps with the finish. For the finish, I copied Mr. Buchanan’s black-over-red milk paint finish.

The first chair is made with baluster turnings while the second has double-bobbin turnings. With my turning skills, two chairs with baluster turnings wouldn’t have been completed until next Christmas (or the Christmas after). The final picture is a “before” shot of the logs used to make the chairs. It was a fun, but time consuming project. I think next year, the family members are going to get gift cards for Christmas…

All constructive criticism is much appreciated – I’m relatively new to woodworking and even newer to chair building.

Thanks!





18 comments so far

View lightweightladylefty's profile

lightweightladylefty

3139 posts in 3180 days


#1 posted 02-11-2016 03:50 AM

Any chance you could add me to your Christmas gift list? Those are some incredible Windsors! We can’t believe you haven’t done a great deal of woodworking with such fine work on awfully difficult chairs, and to think that you took them from log to finished chair! WOW! They are certain to be family heirlooms.

Thanks for sharing.

L/W

-- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

115207 posts in 3045 days


#2 posted 02-11-2016 05:12 AM

Beautiful work.love it.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View BurlyBob's profile

BurlyBob

3697 posts in 1733 days


#3 posted 02-11-2016 05:49 AM

Oh My Gosh! Those are beautiful. I don’t see how anyone could offer any criticism of your chairs. The finish on your first chair is amazing.

View deon's profile

deon

2510 posts in 2493 days


#4 posted 02-11-2016 06:45 AM

Great work!

-- Dreaming patterns

View jdh122's profile

jdh122

879 posts in 2285 days


#5 posted 02-11-2016 10:43 AM

Really nice chairs. And while it’s true that the baluster turnings look nice, in a very formal kind of way, I think the bamboo-style ones look really good too. I’ve watched just about all of Curtis’s videos too, still not had the courage to try to make one of these. You did great.

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

View Redoak49's profile

Redoak49

1964 posts in 1456 days


#6 posted 02-11-2016 12:03 PM

Those are great…you should be really proud of them.

View R_Stad's profile

R_Stad

374 posts in 1311 days


#7 posted 02-11-2016 01:34 PM

Fine work – real beauties. Well done.

-- Rod - Oregon

View usfcork's profile

usfcork

11 posts in 1062 days


#8 posted 02-11-2016 02:39 PM

Thanks for the kind words. Much appreciated and they build confidence in my woodworking. So far, these are about the only things I’ve built that haven’t split, cracked, etc. (I can’t figure out wood movement) and not made out of plywood (I have built a few built-ins). I am happy with the results, but I can’t enjoy them since as soon as they were finished they were gone. Maybe it’s time to build one for myself…

As full disclosure, I did take a class about 3 years ago building a Sack Back windsor chair with Elia Bizzarri (highly recommended), although I split the back on my chair. But, between that class and all of Curtis’ videos, they really do a great job of teaching you everything you need to know to build one. I’m confident if I can do it, everyone on this site can. Now on to trying to build a table…

View helluvawreck's profile

helluvawreck

23214 posts in 2334 days


#9 posted 02-11-2016 03:33 PM

This chair is such a nice piece.

helluvawreck aka Charles
http://woodworkingexpo.wordpress.com

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View RogerBean's profile

RogerBean

1602 posts in 2421 days


#10 posted 02-11-2016 05:10 PM

You have very fortunate family members! Nice work.
Roger

-- "Everybody makes mistakes. A craftsman always fixes them." (Monty Kennedy, "The Checkering and Carving of Gunstocks", 1952)

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

13738 posts in 2086 days


#11 posted 02-11-2016 05:54 PM

Your chairs are truly remarkable, very nice work! As one that’s only now considering a chair build, what concerns me most are the spindles. Making six chairs (possibly) with up to ten spindles each is daunting. How does one make those in quantity, and with consistent quality?

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View usfcork's profile

usfcork

11 posts in 1062 days


#12 posted 02-11-2016 06:17 PM



Your chairs are truly remarkable, very nice work! As one that s only now considering a chair build, what concerns me most are the spindles. Making six chairs (possibly) with up to ten spindles each is daunting. How does one make those in quantity, and with consistent quality?

- Smitty_Cabinetshop

Smitty, thanks for the complement! I have admired your work on this site for a long time, great stuff – in fact, I keep trying to replicate your workbench cabinet, but it never looks quiet like yours…

I’ll try my best to answer your question. First, all of the spindles are a little different (I took the pictures from far away). But, that being said, I used the method that Curtis Buchanan lays out in his free youtube series (https://www.youtube.com/user/curtisbuchanan52). His method is pretty structured and will produce very similar looking spindles at the end. I basically used his method to shape the spindle using a drawknife – make a 3/4 in square, mark the bulge, fan/bring the bulge down to the ends, then make it an octagon, then used a metal dowel plate to make the right size on the ends, and clean up the transitions. At that point, it just amounts to a lot of work with a spokeshave to get them to look similar. My advice relative to Curtis’ videos is to make everything just a little bigger than he does. He is very good at what he does, so he doesn’t make big mistakes. I left room for error, which allowed me to take a little more off some of the spindles at the end (in order to make them look sorta similar).

Although, I got pretty tired after doing the spindles for these chairs, so I couldn’t imaging doing 60 spindles…

I hope that helps. If not, I’m always around to chat about woodworking.

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

13738 posts in 2086 days


#13 posted 02-11-2016 06:30 PM

’... a lot of work… ’ Rats, that’s what I thought you would say. :-)

Starting w/ 3/4” blanks makes a ton of sense, actually. That I can do. Too dangerous to run anything more on the TS after that, so planes and shaves it’ll be I guess. Best make a full sized model first, and make one mistake on that vs. six or sixty, right?

Thanks again, very helpful.

Re: the Roubo Cabinet… All I can suggest is to start with a $1 walnut table and go from there, lawl. Seriously, still loving that build and use it every day. So don’t give up on it!

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View usfcork's profile

usfcork

11 posts in 1062 days


#14 posted 02-11-2016 06:44 PM

Smitty -

One thing I forgot to mention is that everything for the spindles is split from a log using a wedge or froe. That way you maintain the structure of the “long wood fibers”. So the spindles actually come out crooked (which is why I think I can do them) at the end and can actually be used to manipulate the back of the chair one way or another. So the only tools I used to make them were a froe, drawknife, and spokeshave (cheaper that way). Actually, it was sorta therapeutic doing them that way…heck after about 30 of them, you should feel very relaxed, lol. I would check out Curtis’ website too (I feel like all I am doing is plugging him – I promise, no relation). He actually sells very detailed plans for several of his chairs (down to the 32nd of an inch). I just copied off of them…I’m not creative enough.

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

13738 posts in 2086 days


#15 posted 02-11-2016 07:11 PM

Split from a log with a froe will keep me from doing this for sure (entering the denial phase, can you tell?). I have access to very straight (and tight-grained) vintage material that would be what I’d attempt to use. Finding logs and splitting them? Familiy already thinks I’m nuts, that’d do it for sure.

More to ponder, and I will check out those videos. Thanks again.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

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