Below I have tried to summarise my approach to teaching Windosr chair making:
Challenging: Beginners will learn a wide range of woodworking techniques. Existing woodworkers will also learn new techniques and be introduced to a different approach to woodworking. Preconceptions of what is important in making furniture may be challenged.
Open to all: Windsor chair making is accessible to everyone that wants to learn, though my insurance insists that students must be over 18. Each technique is simple and easily mastered, but there is a large number of them and that is the challenge.
Understanding: Students will gain an appreciation of the history of Windsor chairs and how they have evolved, both in the UK and America. By the end of the course they should be able to recognise all the main styles of Windsors and have a good understanding of how they were made. They will never look at a chair in the same way again!
Resources: By the end of a course, students will have the knowledge and techniques (the resources) to begin making chairs for themselves at home.
Simplicity: Throughout the courses, the simplest possible techniques will be used at every stage. Hand tools, such as the drawknife, spokeshave and travisher will be central to the methods introduced. A minimum of power tools and jigs will be used. This approach allows the making of the finest possible chairs and minimises the investment needed to begin making chairs at home.
Elegance: Design and shaping are all-important in making chairs that will be appreciated for years to come. The course will develop an appreciation for the finer points of shaping that will distinguish the excellent chair from the ordinary.