Wheelback Side Chair

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 Wheelback Side Chair plans

Immediate Download

Scale drawings
For printing (pdf) on A4/letter size paper

Immediate Download

Full size drawings
For printing on A0/ANSI E-size paper

The 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.

Chair Making Courses

No previous experience is necessary to successfully complete a Windsor chair making course and yet experienced woodworkers will still be fully challenged. Individual guidance and assistance will be provided as appropriate, and every effort will be made to ensure a rewarding and enjoyable course.

Chair Making Book

Written by James Mursell, this book was the first new book about the making and design of Windsor chairs for over 10 years. It was written with a broad readership in mind and is aimed at existing Windsor chair makers and also at those who are contemplating making their first chair.

Youtube Videos

Ben Orford makes the blades for my travishers.

Watch his short video about this great tool and the uses it can be put to.

Tool Testimonials

“This tool is phenomenal. I bought two, one for myself and another for my Windsor chairmaker instructor. Compared to the other travishers I have used, yours is very good to work with and everyone who has tried it loves it. I just ordered a second one and your two spokeshaves which I trust will be as enjoyable to use. Thanks again for making such great tools.” LG (USA) 2015