A few years back I came across a photo on the internet of a stylized Windsor chair, and I have been wanting to make a prototype ever since. I have a few projects on the go right now but decided to be a bit selfish and to try my hand at making one. I have altered the design slightly, inverting the direction of the spindles.
Constructed entirely of ash, there are a few fundamental differences between this chair and how a traditional Windsor chair is made. First, the legs are not tapered into the seat. Rather, these wide legs are cut on an angle and then wedge tenoned into the seat using a 3/4″ riven dowel turned on the lathe, with the dowel, wedge, and wide leg top providing the support and strength. Second, the highly tapered back rest means that the chair back is fitted into the seat first and then the back posts’ tenons and wedges are trimmed flush before the legs are added. Lastly, the back spindles protrude above the crest.
With some careful planning this chair came together rather nicely, but there is one modification that is required before making another. I set the crest at 9 1/2″ above the seat such that it fits into the small of the back. The problem with this is that the sitter’s back arches over the top of the crest, forcing me to cut the protruding spindles about an inch shorter than I wanted so that they did not poke into the sitter’s back. Next time I will raise the crest about 1 1/2″ and marginally reduce the slope of the posts. Although not a major change, it should address the issue and improve the overall appeal.
I always stain my chairs an appropriate colour before adding a painted finish. This ensures that should the top coat ever chip or wear, a more appealing colour will appear instead of raw wood. In this case I have applied a coat of white wash. Next I will apply a white acrylic lacquer.