WD: Give Your Chair The “Look”

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There are many Windsor chair makers out there. Not as many as there were at the height of the period reproduction wave, but still plenty. Everybody needs to keep their butt up off the ground after all! I figure if I can hang in for a few more years, I could be the last of the Mohicans when it comes to Windsor chair makers – Yoda and Caine from Kung Fu rolled up in one! Or, more likely, I’ll be replaced yet again by technology just as it was in my model-maker days.

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(Fig. 1) Collectors and antique dealers have had to take a second look at my Windsor chairs to decide if they were from the period or reproductions – a good eye for details and nice paint can add years to your work.

The one thing I have going for me, however, are my finishes. More specifically, the “look” of my chairs. Having been around the real things enough, I can mimic the feel and appearance of the old chairs, along with a believable amount of distress to make even a trained eye do a double-take (Fig. 1). Ever see a major league hitter’s knees buckle when a pitcher throws a really good curve ball? That’s what I think of when an antique dealer or collector steps forward to get a closer look, or touches one of my chairs just to be sure it’s not the real thing. A disclaimer is in order: I sign all of my chairs just to avoid confusion.

While the paint finish on my chairs is what draws a lot of attention, there is a myriad of other details that make up the look. Simply put, you could put the greatest paint job ever on a factory Windsor and it will be no more than a factory Windsor with nice paint.

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