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Newsletter – Summer 2017


As I write this, I have just one course remaining before my summer break from courses. I usually try to use the time to develop new chairs for courses, but this year will be different. An impending significant birthday is the excuse for my wife and I to travel to Australia for three weeks! We will be visiting several Australian chair makers and woodworkers and I will report in future newsletters, though you can follow progress on Instagam if you wish!

In the meantime there’s a lot to read/watch below. Please enjoy!
James Mursell


Courses though to Christmas are filling fast. The following courses still have spaces:

25-29 September        Continuous arm
9-13 October           English double bow
21-22 October          Stool (one place only)
20-24 November        Crown Windsor
11-15 December        Classic Windsor

If you are interested in taking a place, do email me to check current availablility. Otherwise there is more information on my website.

2015 calendar

Continuous arm chair
classic double bow


I will be attending three shows up to Christmas, so do please make a note in your diary of the dates:

Pashley ManorSussex Guild Show – 26-28 August

I have 15 FREE TICKETS (normally £8.50 each) for this lovely show. Please email me if you would like one, or two, and let me have your postal address so that I can send them. Please let me know soon, as it’s first come first served and I need to send them before departing for Australia!

This is a marquee show in the grounds of the beautiful Pashley Manor. The associated gardens, with many examples of contemporary sculpture, are well worth a trip in their own right. A wide selection of Guild members will be exhibiting. The tickets get you into the show and gardens free of charge.

Wellington College, Crowthorne – Craft in Focus – 27-29 October

This show is from the same stable as the wonderful spring show at Wisley Gardens and you can be guaranteed a fine collection of exhibitors.

Midhurst Rother College – Sussex Guild Show – 2-3 December

This is the Guild’s largest show of the year and I hope to be able to offer free tickets to download nearer the time.

I am helping to organise this show, so am a little biased, but the location, number of exhibitors and closeness to Christmas make it a brilliant outing!

New Book on Windsors: “Celebrated Chairs

Denis Lake has researched and written this fascinating history of Tasmanian Windsor chair making and produced a beautiful, limited edition book. Windsor chairs spread all over the globe and didn’t get much further from their origins than Tasmania! Anyone with an interest in their history should read this book!

Bern Chandley, one of Australia’s finest chair makers writes:

“Several months ago Tasmanian furniture restorer/ author Denis Lake sent letters out to assorted folk he felt may be interested in a book he had written and self-published on Windsor chair making in 19th and 20th century Tasmania. I’ve been longing for a copy ever since and this week, with an impending birthday at hand, it finally arrived.

All hats off to Denis. He’s done a remarkable job. It is everything I was hoping it would be. Now I’m fired up to build a couple of ‘peddle chairs’. The forward is by Bernard D. Cotton, author of ‘The English Regional Chair’.

It is a limited run of 500 with only 100 remaining. So if you are interested in reading a beautifully written and illustrated book on the traditions of Windsor chairmaking in Australia then you might want to get a hustle on.”

For more information, and to purchase a copy, click here.

Video of Course

Back in March I ran my first Crown Windsor course. It inspired two of the students to go public with their record of the course.

Have a look at Merlin Beedell’s video of the week. It’s well worth watching all the way through!

Magazine Articles

Two articles relating to The Windsor Workshop have recently been published:

Living Woods Magazine– article by George Smith, who also attended the first Crown Windsor course.

Click here to read

Chair making course article

Furniture and Cabinet Making – an article on spokehaves, featuring the Windsor Workshop’s spokeshaves and travisher.

Click here to read

Spokeshaves article

Travishers Around the World!

My travishers head out around the globe and I thought I would share just a couple of pieces of feedback that I have recently recived:

It’s always a pleasure to have feedback from happy customers. Don, from Canada, recently sent me an image of his travisher which he made from The Windsor Workshop’s travisher kit. He plans to use it on the back of a cello that he is currently making.

Windsor Workshop Travisher

I recently sent just my second travisher to Russia. The first (several years ago) took a long time to arrive, but this one was delivered in under 2 weeks. Imagine my surprise when I saw this beautiful video clip on Instagram. Now that’s how to make the most of unpacking a new tool!

Bruce’s Return

Bruce and his wife Judy run the local Post Office Stores. He came on a course 7 years ago to make a sack back chair. During the course he suggested that he should be supplying me with food for the courses and that he could deliver each day! Since then this has been an excellent arrangement. I email my requirement in a spreadsheet the week before and we receive daily deliveries of freshly baked bread, cooked meats, chutney, Scotch eggs, pork pies, local tomatoes, cakes and biscuits!

In May, Bruce returned to make a continuous arm chair for Judy.

Thank you both for all your support!

Bruce and Judy's chairs

Bruce and Judy’s chairs!

Judy and Bruce in the West Chiltington Post Office Stores

Judy and Bruce in the West Chiltington Post Office Stores