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Newsletter – Autumn 2019

It is a fair while since my last newsletter, but that doesn’t mean that nothing much has been going on at The Windsor Workshop! Courses have been running steadily throughout, including the first Ergo course last month. I have developed new chairs for courses, although one turned out to be a non-runner – see below. I am now working on a new continuous arm chair, which I hope to introduce next year, provided my planned improvements to the bending of the arm are successful! Finally, my travishers continue their bid to populate the Windsor chairmaking world.

I have two great shows coming up at the end of November/ beginning of December and you can download free tickets for the Sussex Guild show at Midhurst.

James Mursell
October 2019

New course dates for 2020

I have dates on my website for courses through to July next year. Do have a look if you are considering a course: Course Dates

I have scheduled a new continuous arm course for 11-15 May and will release pictures and details of the chair as soon as it has been finalised.

Shaker Bench

(h = 765mm; w = 920mm; d(max) 490 mm)

The first course for this small bench is 3-7 February 2020. This is one of my new designs and is heavily based on a traditional Shaker design. It is the same height as a normal chair and will take two people. It can be used up to a table and would also be ideal, for example, in a hallway for sitting on while changing shoes.

The bench shown has a cherry seat, but the course will be with a tulipwood seat with the option for ash. The remainder of the bench is ash.

Do please get in touch if you are interested in attending this course.

Pair of children’s chairs – a lesson from the market!

Earlier this year I had the idea of offering a course where two children’s chairs could be made – either two the same, or one of each design.

At the end of August I took them to a show (which was very successful) but there was literally zero interest in the chairs. Perhaps it was the paint finish, but I am not so sure? For now I have shelved plans to offer them on a course, but if this is of interest, please let me know.

The chairs are ¾ scale and will be useable by a child for a surprising number of years. In fact, I (6’3”) can perch on them at a push!!

Painting the chairs is not essential, but I felt that it was appropriate for children’s chairs.

Ergo chair course

The first course for this chair (September 30 – October 4) went very well and you will see from the picture how good the chairs look. For a closer view, try watching this slightly dizzy-making video clip!

The next course for the Ergo is January 6-10, 2020 and there are currently just two places left!

Craft Shows

Combined ‘Jewellery and Silversmithing Fair’ and ‘Craft and Design Fair’

Winchester Guildhall  22-24 November 2019

One ticket for both events

I did this show last year and met lots of people who have since come on courses. The show is in the magnificent Guildhall and is unique in combining a Craft Fair, with a Jewellery and Silversmithing Fair. There should truly be something for everyone to appreciate.

The Guildhall is very close to the cathedral and minutes away from the High Street and plenty of options for food and drink!

Sussex Guild show at Midhurst Rother College, Midhurst, West Sussex GU29 9DT

November 30 – December 1, 2019

Download a free ticket for two people here.

This is the Guild’s largest show of the year, in a wonderful building and is timed perfectly in the run-up to Christmas for finding unusual gifts.

As one of the organisers of this event, I am a little biased, but it a fabulous show. We will have about 60 members exhibiting and there will be delicious food and drink available in the foyer.


I was very lucky to have my daughter Becky, who is training to be a professional photographer, with me for the continuous arm course in June. She took loads of great pictures and here is a small selection which I hope will give a flavour of the courses, if you have not yet been on a course, or a reminder if you have!

Students’ Work

It is always a pleasure to include images of work of past students.

Neil has been on two courses to make a pair of Classic chairs which are shown here. They are finished with Osmo Polyx satin clear oil. The chair on the left is the older of the pair and has darkened more due to its age. A fine pair, I am sure you will agree!

Two chairs

Windsor Rocking Cradle

Steven has been such a regular supporter of the Windsor Workshop that I have forgotten just how many times has been here! It must be about 8 times and that’s even more impressive given that he comes from Newcastle – a long way!

Steven has made lots of chairs at home and here is his latest creation – a rocking cradle (Windsor of course). I think it is fabulous. Many Windsor rockers were made, particularly in America, in the 1700’s and this is right up there with the best. Nice one Steven!