I would like to thank all of my customers for their support over the past year and I look forward in 2013 to meeting new recruits to the world of Windsor chairmaking, welcoming existing makers back to the workshop and encouraging more woodworkers to experience the pleasures of wooden spokeshaves and travishers!
I am writing this in the last week of November in between making chairs and preparing for my last show of the year. It has been a very busy year with 18 courses and 9 shows and the last few months have been particularly hectic with full courses.
Tool sales have been well up on past years with exports, mainly to the US, accounting for much of the increase. The new websites are working well and spreading the word.
Bookings for 2013 are coming in well and the change to making the initial course chair the double bow armchair seems to be popular. It will be interesting to see how many people come back to make pairs of side chairs or bar stools rather than another arm chair. This option makes producing a set of chairs much more economical than before.
I continue to make chairs to order and also to design and make new designs. I am particularly pleased with my new Windsor settee which incorporates so many of my favourite features – see below for more and photos.
We live in worrying times for trees, with ash dieback the latest and most concerning disease for my business. Below I give a couple of links that give more details, but we will know so much more by the end of next year now that so many people are aware of the problem.
Best wishes for Christmas and 2013
Courses as Gifts
Almost 50% of all students who take a chair making course at The Windsor Workshop do so as a result of a gift – either Christmas or birthday.
With Christmas fast approaching I thought I’d take the opportunity to remind you what a great gift a course is – for a friend, loved one or yourself!
There is a choice of 2-day (£205) and 5-day (£530) courses. https://thewindsorworkshop.co.uk/courses-at-the-windsor-workshop
I frequently receive requests for a voucher that can be given on the day and am happy to adapt one to your requirements.
Vouchers can be bought for the price of the course deposit (£50 or £150) or fully paid. Either way, the recipient can make contact to choose a course when they are ready.
Beginning with the first course of next year, the chair to be made by everyone on their first 5-day course is the double-bow armchair. Subsequently you may choose from a range of armchairs or a pair of side chairs / bar stools.
Tools as Gifts
Not only courses, but also tools make great Christmas gifts.
Two sizes of spokeshave and the travisher will gladden the heart of any woodworker!
For more information and to purchase online, please visit: www.woodenspokeshave.com
New Windsor Settee
This 2-seat settee was inspired by two historical settees, one English and one American. The former comb-back is owned by Jesus College, Oxford and the latter a low-back settee which is at Wintertur museum in Delaware.I have made several 2-seaters, but this is my favourite.
The seat is sweet chestnut and everything else is ash. Sadly my source of wide 2” sweet chestnut boards has now run out – such a shame as it is a wonderful seat wood.
This settee is selling for £1250 (incl. VAT) with a 3 month lead time.
It will be featured in an article in Furniture and Cabinet Making (issue 202, on sale from 24/1/13) that I have just written, about the shaping of solid wooden seats.
If there is sufficient interest I may consider offering this settee as an advanced course, either in 2013 or 2014. Please let me know if you are interested.
More details of how the settee developed from a sketch in a notebook can be found here on my blog.
Ash dieback, caused by Chalara fraxinea, has been much in the news recently.
The true spread of this disease in the UK does not seem to be clear as yet, though indications are that it is much more widespread than initially thought.
As my business is built around a plentiful supply of fresh ash, the situation is worrying. We will have to wait for another 9 months or so to have a better idea of the problem, but for now here are a couple of links with more information and images of the disease.
Chair travels to Australia
In October John attended a course from Australia. How to get his chair home? His solution: dress it up like a poodle!!