Ask a non-chairmaker in England to describe a Windsor chair and the chances are that they will picture a wheelback chair in their minds. The distinctive wheel motif in the splat was a Victorian development and was adopted by many English chair makers. These chairs were exported around the world. Double-bow armchairs were usually paired with the side chairs to make a set.
maximum dimensions: 17″ x 19″ x 35 1/2″ ( w x d x h )
The wheelback side chair pictured is made from ash with an elm seat and cherry splat. It is a compact, sturdy and comfortable chair. The two bracing spindles inserted into the beaver tail at the back of the seat are not essential and can be left out with no ill effect. They were added to enhance the value of the chairs. They stiffen the back and many consider the chairs to be more comfortable if there is a little spring in the back.
The spindles are usually turned or made using rounders, although shaving them with a drawknife and spokeshave is quite satisfactory. The splat is cut out with a fret saw.
Buy the Wiheelback Side Chair plans
For printing (pdf) on A4/letter size paper
Full size drawings
For printing on A0/ANSI E-size paper
The wheelback side chair shown has been made by James Mursell of The Windsor Workshop in Sussex, England.
James’ guiding principle when creating Windsor chairs is to make them as elegant as possible. This is achieved by removing all unnecessary wood from the chair. In addition each part is shaped to minimise its visual weight, where appropriate.