As I scanned my earlier articles, I realized that they are not exactly linear on how to build a Windsor chair; they don’t describe how to construct it from start to finish. If you ever saw my shop, this would not be a surprise (Fig. 1). Windsor chairs are a large part of my business, but not all of it so I’m constantly moving from one project to another. A set of chairs here, a little millwork there and a bit of restoration over there. Mistakes can be and are made, so along with this linear recap, I have included a few photos cataloging the mistakes I’ve made over the years. I keep them in my “Hall of Shame.” It keeps me humble.
Because I do so much handwork, my pea-brain can handle doing only about 12 of any operation. I can carve 12 knuckles or crest-rails, scoop 12 seats or paint 12 chairs. Problem is, an order of 12 is rare. It’s rare, in fact, to get an order for six side chairs. And it’s even more rare for me to make them from start to finish without being sidetracked.
In a perfect woodworking world, I would get a call from a cash-paying customer every Monday morning who would order eight side chairs and two armchairs – small unmarked bills in a plain brown bag would be nice. They would also tell me to use my judgment on the finish, and that if they got them by Christmas of 2018 that would be great! (I want the Phillies to win the World Series too, but we know how that goes.)