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Newsletter – September 2013


It has been an abrupt change from summer to autumn with some welcome rain and chilly nights. This has coincided with my first course after a summer break, my wife returning to school for the start of the new term and our younger daughter about to start university. If I had a ‘teaching year’ this would be the start of it.

It has been a productive summer with a good number of commissions to keep me busy, but with breaks for a walking holiday in the Italian Dolomites and a 10 km run amongst many other activities.

My autumn show season is now under way with details below. It would be a pleasure to see you at any of the venues if you can make it. I hope to be able to provide some free tickets for the two Sussex Guild shows for those that are interested.

There are still a limited number of places available on courses up to Christmas. I have  posted new dates for the first three months of 2014 on the website and they are show below.

I know that it is almost indecent to mention Christmas at this stage of the year, but experience has shown that a large proportion of people come on courses as a result of receiving one as a present – Christmas or birthday. Whether you may be a giver or receiver, why not file the thought away for a couple of months? Personalised vouchers can be produced so there is something tangible to ‘give’!

Tre Cime di Lavaredo Note size of people bottom right for scale!

Course Dates 2014

Below is a list of course dates through to the end of March next year. They are divided into 5-day courses (double-bow or continuous-arm) and 2-day weekend stool making courses. If you have been a couple of times before and would like to try something new, please get in touch and let’s discuss your ideas.

Weekend Stool Course





Weekend Stool Course


Weekend Stool Course

If you would like to book a course please contact me to confirm availability. I then ask for a deposit of £225 (which can be paid via the website) to secure the booking.

If you have a questions about the courses please have a look at the website or contact me by email or phone on 01798 815 925.



I have a show each month until Christmas. This month I am returning to the Weald Wood Fair, near Lewes after an absence of four years. It has always been a great show with lots of interest for all members of a family. It last for 3 days so if you are not working you can avoid the weekend crowds by coming on Friday.

In October I will be at the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum at Singleton near Chichester for their Country Show. This is a new one for me and being in a marquee I’ll will be praying for good weather! Have a look at the website for more details.

November has me at Hurstpierpoint College for the first of two Sussex Guild Shows. This will be my second year after a great experience last year. A wide range of crafts will be represented and you can be sure that everything on display was made by the guild member that is exhibiting.

December brings one of my favourite shows – Sussex Guild at Midhurst Rother College. This brand new school alone is worth seeing but the real treat will be the exhibitors. Perfect for special Christmas gifts.

If you would like free tickets for either of the Sussex Guild shows Please let me know by email and I will do my best to send you a couple nearer the time.20 – 22 September

Weald Wood Fair, Bentley, E. Sussex

Weald and Downland Country Show, nr. Chichester

Sussex Guild, Hurstpierpoint College

Sussex Guild, Midhurst Rother College






In the last two newsletters I have told you about my preparations for a 10 km run – well I did it! I was one of 1,000 runners making two laps of the Greenwich Park course. The weather was ideally cool and it was great fun. I even overtook some runners, though was probably overtaken by more!

The run was in aid of British Heart Foundation and with the help of many very generous people I raised just over £1,000. My thanks to everyone that contributed.

Although my running is currently on hold while my Achilles tendon calms down, I have taken up cycling again as an alternative. I will be looking for some challenge to enter next year. Fear not, I have no further plans to seek sponsorship as the run was a special one-off. My incentive now is to improve on ‘personal-bests’!

After the run with my daughter Rebecca.

Summer Chairs

You may like to see some of the chairs that I made as commissions over the summer.

These 4 low back chairs were a copy of an old mahogany chair. Curiously the arm was roughly parallel to the floor, but was much closer to the font of the seat than the back. It was made of four pieces of ash screwed and glued together. The customer wanted them ‘in the white’ as he plans to paint them.

John Bust stool

John has been on three courses over the years and surprised me completely by sending a brilliant folding stool that he made in ash. He requested that it be installed in the steam bending area so that students could take a breather during the first morning’s bending. It was used for the first time last Monday. I mounted it on the upright of the bending jig and I’m sure that most future students will sit on John’s stool while winding the winch to make their bends!

John has kindly provided detailed drawing for anyone wishing to make one. You can download here.


Ash logs

How about these for ash logs? They are destined for the mill to be sawn into 2” planks for seats.

Two fine ash logs destined for seat-wood

Andrew Hamilton

Andrew attended a course earlier in the year and made a double bow chair. He then promptly made a continuous armchair followed by one of his own design. I think we will be seeing more of his chairs…….. Superb!

Trestle Table Moscow

Last year I had my first order for tools from Russia – Moscow in fact. It took a very long time for the package to arrive, but it did eventually.

I corresponded with Alex and he requested details of my ‘Windsor’ trestle table that is shown in my book. He recently emailed with details of his Russian version and wrote:

I have made it from ash timber. Tenons have been made with the use of the Trend mortise/tenon jig. The top was covered with Minwax Teak oil and then with Varathane polyurethane.  Because I needed not a big table (its top is 120×67 cm), I slightly modified your design:

1) 6 “legs” instead of 8, so under other angles;

2) additional crossbars because of the item #1;

3) right-angle top;

4) simplified feet (not rounded tops).

5) wider “wings” (distances between bearers and top edges).

Alex's trestle table

Windsor trailer

I found this image of a Windsor rickshaw and have to share it…

Windsor trailer!
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Join my


all aspects of Windsor chairs & Windsor chair making

Delivered by email, each newsletter (4 a year) contains new course dates, Windsor chair making tips and other useful information.

*By subscribing you agree that James Mursell can email his newsletter to you. You can easily unsubscribe at any time.