Fan Back Windsor Chair Crest

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Forum topic by pete57 posted 02-01-2009 07:02 AM 2217 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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134 posts in 3650 days

02-01-2009 07:02 AM

I have a question on the crest for Fan Back windsor chairs. The Fan Back and Comb Back both have crest. I do not see much difference in the arch of the crest of the arm chairs, but the side chairs seem to appear like their crest are not as rounded? I also see that side chairs lay back more at the seat to spindle area than the arm chair does. Is this a standard or just something that particular chairmaker did. In Wallace Nuttings Book ” Windsor Chairs”, he comments on several aspects of the different windsors, but not that much about the crest or angles in the fan back side chair, but he does talk about the ears and shape of the crest? Thanks

-- Humble Wood Servant

4 replies so far

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18618 posts in 4400 days

#1 posted 02-24-2009 11:14 PM

did you get your questions answered?

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

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134 posts in 3650 days

#2 posted 03-01-2009 06:31 PM

No and am kind of frustrated. I will be taking a class first week of May for a week with a master chairmaker Brian Cunfer that worked under Curtis Buchanan. I guess that I am impatient seeing that I have been wanting to build windsors since I first saw Mike Dunbar’s book many years ago. I am thinking that there are just three types of seats, c shape as in sack backs, shield seat as in continuos arms, and D seats as in some comb backs. I see differences in the crest in carving and ear placement and style but not in curviture except in PA chairs crest are more of a circle is seems. I have several books on windsors telling me of great designs and comparisions, sizes and shapes, and these books were put out as a standard for what chairs should look like and where they were made due to characteristics of origin. I guess that in the end it is what I think is good and what is bad and suttle changes will make my chairs mine in an ocean of others. Thanks for asking and sory for the long awkward answer. Peace ey?

-- Humble Wood Servant

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F Dudak

342 posts in 4050 days

#3 posted 03-01-2009 08:12 PM

You SOUND impatient! Also absorbed in Windsors. Once you take a class it will better help you to understand what is a good chair and what is a bad chair. Read and take it all in now because once you make a chair that is all you will want to do. I too was hit with the Windsor chair bug and it was on the back burner for some 20 years. Two years ago a Sack Back class, last year a Sack Back Rocker and Philly High back, and March 9th I will be going to see Mike Dunbar to build a Nantucket Fan Back.

The differences you see in the chairs of old seem to be sublte in some chairs and quite obvious in other chairs. I would think that ultimately it came down to the builder and their take on what was pleasing to the eye, where they were trained, or adding their own signature, ie.different crest, leg types, volute size…; what they all have in common is the mechanics. The different woods used for their properties to make a resilient piece of furniture. The Windsor was a well thought out chair which is evidenced by the longevity of some that are still in existence.This is what is fascinating to me; this chair was designed to be asthetically pleasing as well as built to last a few lifetimes. It is hard to improve on that because the chair is still pleasing to the eye today. Today we may be tempted to build a Windsor chair that is more contemporary but if we stray from the mechanics I doubt it will last like the chairs that are being copied today.

I know this didn’t really answer your question but if you would like some feedback on the subject go to the Widsor Institute website and E-mail Mike. I’m sure he will steer you in the right direction to find out about the curves in a crest.

Enjoy your class and be sure to take the camera and take plenty of pictures. They are a great reference when your memory lets you down.

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

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134 posts in 3650 days

#4 posted 03-02-2009 06:29 AM

Fred do you build anything else besides chairs? I have started on my quest for chair building as well. I am working towards getting Juried in the near future. that should keep me plenty busy. Thanks for adding me to your buddy list. Maybe you may be able to help me get pictures figured out. I only have dial up where I live right now.

-- Humble Wood Servant

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