James Mursell has been making Windsor chairs for 23 years, having been introduced to them by veteran teacher Jack Hill, on a course at West Dean College. James subsequently studied with Mike Dunbar, one of America’s leading experts on Windsor chairs, and has been a full-time professional chairmaker for the past 16 years.
James Mursell made chairs to commission for a number of years, selling through galleries and shows, before starting The Windsor Workshop to teach Windsor chair making. He built a new purpose-built workshop in 2006.
He has developed a range of specialist chair making tools. These include his unique travisher for shaping chair seats, and spokeshaves for shaping spindles, bows and seats. He sells these tools all over the world to discerning woodworkers.
He has been offering courses at The Windsor Workshop for the past 15 years. They run throughout the year but with a gap in the summer to coincide with the school summer holidays. He also taught Windsor chair making at West Dean College until 2016.
He has written extensively on the subject of Windsor chairs with many articles appearing in Furniture & Cabinet Making and Good Woodworking. His book ‘Windsor Chairmaking‘ has recently been published. James is a member of The Sussex Guild, and exhibits regularly at their shows. He can also be found at ‘wood shows’ around the country promoting courses, tools and chairs.
Prior to becoming a full time chairmaker, James was a commercial fruit grower for fifteen years. Before that he worked for Tate & Lyle in America, after graduating with a degree in Botany from Cambridge.
In his spare time he runs locally and has recently taken up road cycling. James is married to Louise, and they have two daughters.
No previous experience is necessary to successfully complete a Windsor chair making course and yet experienced woodworkers will still be fully challenged. Individual guidance and assistance will be provided as appropriate, and every effort will be made to ensure a rewarding and enjoyable course.
Written by James Mursell, this book was the first new book about the making and design of Windsor chairs for over 10 years. It was written with a broad readership in mind and is aimed at existing Windsor chair makers and also at those who are contemplating making their first chair.
Ben Orford makes the blades for my travishers.
Watch his short video about this great tool and the uses it can be put to.
“This tool is phenomenal. I bought two, one for myself and another for my Windsor chairmaker instructor. Compared to the other travishers I have used, yours is very good to work with and everyone who has tried it loves it. I just ordered a second one and your two spokeshaves which I trust will be as enjoyable to use. Thanks again for making such great tools.” LG (USA) 2015