Bow-Back Side Chair

This classic American side chair is attractive from all angles and in any setting. The design dates from around 1780 and yet with the simple bamboo turnings it is timeless. This example has a cherry seat with the remainder of the chair in ash.

Maximum dimensions: 17.5″ x 20.5″ x 36.5″ ( w  x d  x h )

The shield seat is highly sculpted and extremely comfortable.  On the example shown the spindles are shaved with a drawknife and spokeshaves. The bow is steam bent.

The bow back shown has seven spindles. The chair appears even more impressive with 9 back spindles. For the greatest effect, two bracing spindles can be added, anchored into a beaver tail at the back of the seat (not shown in the plans). As a final alternative, an even number of spindles can be used. Some consider this to be the most comfortable arrangement as there is no central spindle to interfere with the spine of the sitter.

Buy the Bow Back plans

Immediate Download

Scale drawings
For printing (pdf) on A4/letter size paper

Immediate Download

Full size drawings
For printing on A0/ANSI E-size paper

The chair shown has been made by James Mursell of The Windsor Workshop in Sussex, England.

James’ guiding principle when creating Windsor chairs is to make them as elegant as possible. This is achieved by removing all unnecessary wood from the chair. In addition each part is shaped to minimise its visual weight, where appropriate.

Chair Making Courses

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.

Chair Making Book

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.

Youtube Videos

Ben Orford makes the blades for my travishers.

Watch his short video about this great tool and the uses it can be put to.

Tool Testimonials

“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