a Satisfied Mind

Got the chair together, mostly without a hitch. I didn’t shoot any photos of the process, I had enough to keep track of as it was. I won’t go into the usual “here’s one mistake, this part could be better/curvier/wider”, etc – a friend last week wrote that his chair would be “amazing” – stuff & nonsense I said. I’m aiming for good enough. And I got it. As I said in an earlier post, this chair is pretty much the same as one I made 30 years ago. That one is still kicking, but had a run-in with some rowdiness that resulted in a hasty repair. Now I have a brand-new one – survived assembly so that’s a good sign.

Sophie test driving the chair

The seat is white pine, turnings maple & ash. Hickory arm & spindles and the crest is white oak. I have all the fussy cleanup and finishing touches left. Then the notion of paint or not. I hate the thought of painting it – not out of any fixation with the natural beauty of wood. Just from a dread of all the work painting a chair entails.

front view

It was in 2014 that my friend Michael showed me a settee of mine that he’d bought at a house-sale. And my reaction was that I didn’t think I could make it now. That was the impetus for me to delve back into making Windsor chairs. Not for my living – I’m too slow and clunky – but for the fun of making them and to recapture some of the skills I once had that got shelved.

After a few of Curtis Buchanan’s shaved Windsors – this comb back is the first one in 30 years really that I’ve made with turned bits, carved ears – the works. As I was working on this chair, I kept thinking back to that period in my career and the people who showed me what’s what – Curtis, Drew Langsner – Jennie Alexander. JA only ever made one Windsor chair, but was always thinking about them – particularly the undercarriage.

And our friend Daniel O’Hagan – in his notes is this, about comb backs –

“The melodious comb…crowning the whole work and supplying a place…a very convenient one…for hanging a coat, handbag, hat, or pajamas.”

An earlier post about my new chair is here https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2022/11/20/woodworking-hobby/