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Newsletter – Spring 2017


Thank you to everyone that has helped to make the first few months of 2017 so busy! Courses have been well subscribed and tool sales have been good.

This newsletter marks the introduction of a new course chair and I can report on the first course of the Crown Windsor which took place last month.

Naturally most students come from the UK, but it is always exciting to have students come from abroad and there have been visitors from Poland, Brazil and Croatia recently. Also you will see below examples of past students who have been busy at home building on the lessons learned on their course.

I have a number of shows coming up (details below) and as always it would be great to see you again. Thanks to all of you that made it to our recent Sussex Guild show at Horsham.

I recently became aware of an excellent new book about Windsor chairs – about a couple of chair makers who took their craft to Australia and established a thriving business in Tasmania. There’s a brief piece below and I will expand with more details in my next newsletter.

Finally, if you would like to get a student’s view of a course, Bruce Sandeman-Craik has put together a website documenting his experience. It’s a fun read and there are lots of photos.


Craft in Focus, RHS Wisley Gardens,  GU23 6QB

Thursday 27th April to Monday 1st May, 0900 – 1800

This is a tremendous show, with a large number of excellent exhibitors from around the country. The gardens which should be in their spring splendour, will make a visit a great day out. Further details here.


Sussex Guild at Parham House, Storrington, West Sussex RH20 4HR June 17-18, 2017

I am returning to the show after a break of two years. The Guild will have a marquee in the beautiful gardens and members will have a great range of crafts for you to see. The house is also well worth a visit. Although I have lived nearby for over 30 years, I toured the house for the first time last autumn – it’s a gem!


2015 calendar

New Course Dates

On my website I have recently added course dates through to the end of March 2018. These courses include the new Classic double bow and there is another opportunity to make the 2-seat settee on 12-16 March. This latter course is a big challenge and should only be attempted if you have already taken at least one course and are confident that you can work quickly, as there are so many components to make!

Settee double bow 2 seat

New Course chair – The Classic Double Bow

This new double bow will be offered for a course for the first time December 11-15, 2017. There are similarities to the English double bow. It is slightly more compact and definitely more shapely. I will have it with me at all my shows this year, so do come and give it a try!

First Crown Course

Last month I ran the first Crown Windsor course. The course was full, which was gratifying for a new chair and all turned out well! If you like the chair and wish to make your own, the next course is November 20-24, 2017

Celebrated Chairs – New book coming soon!

I recently received a copy of a fascinating new book from Australia. It is a chair-making and social history about two Scots who trained in chair making in High Wycombe and ended up plying their trade in Tasmania.

I hope to stock this book on my website shortly and will give a much fuller description in my next newsletter!

Travishers for cricket bats

A couple of months ago Chris, from ‘Batmaker of London’, bought a travisher to help in the making of his bats. It is always great when tools jump from one craft to another – I use farrier’s rasps in my chairmaking – and he sent me these few words and the photo of him at work!

Have a look at his website: http://www.batmaker.co.uk/

Chris wrote: ‘Firstly a wonderful tool. The cut is so clean with a minimum of pressure, the design fits perfect in the hands making contour cutting simple.  I search everywhere for quality tools as they are so rare these days. I have never had a travisher or spokeshave cut so clean, willow is dreadful for chatter and scalping if your tools are blunt or not setup properly.’

Bruce Sandeman Craik website

Bruce made the English double bow chair last autumn. He took lots of photos during the week and afterwards put together this website documenting his experience.

If you would like an independent view of my chairmaking courses, this is it!


Manta Ray

Eric Gower, who very kindly and efficiently proofed my book back in 2009, recently sent me a link to a most unusual Windsor chair. I think it is magnificent, though would not be surprised it not everyone agrees with me!

Have a look at this link to see more views and how it is made:


Stuart’s chairs

Stuart made a sack back chair here in November 2015 and has just completed his first set of chairs on his own. Impressive work!


Pat first came to the Windsor Workshop as her 79th birthday present from her husband. A couple of weeks ago she came again for the 7th time, She is very proud to be the equal-oldest person at 86 on one of my courses. Congratulations Pat!

Amanda’s photos

Amanda and her son attended the continuous arm course in February this year. Here is a small selection of her photos:

Period Living: Windsor chair article

Here’s an article from Period Living about Windsor chairs with a link to The Windsor Workshop at the end! Always interesting to read someone else’s take on Windsors.