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Handmade Oak Tables, Cabinets and Windsor Chairs
The Windsor chair as we know it by its typical method has been known to exist for over three hundred years, a probable development from such simple items as the three legged milking stool.
The typical Windsor chair is an object of beautiful construction with lines that are all about splay and curve rather than straightness, so there is not much room for the use of a rule and square in its making.
About the only flat surface on a Windsor is the underside of the seat.
Most likely developed by the wheelwright and turner-men used to moving wood into shapes.
Tools of the trade
The 'Bottomer' Cutting out the shape of the seats with an 'adze' and 'travisher'.
The 'pole lathe' powered by nothing more that a springy sapling and the bodgers foot. Working where the raw materials grew.
Young grown Ash would be boiled or enveloped in steam as it was superb for bending.
Bent around a pattern of a desired shape. Metal straps were placed on the outer edge to avoid splitting.
This work required considerable strength and care but also speed
as the wood could only be bent
while very hot and would become cold in less than 3 minutes.
Cutting out the regionally designed
decorative banister splat with a bow saw.
With pierced work, holes had to be bored through to allow the saw blade to be threaded in to cut out the appropriate sections.
Construction would begin with boring leg holes in the underside of the seat. A wooden breast bib was worn to enable the 'framer' to apply maximum downward pressure in order for the drill spoon to bite.
The top sides from the steam bender were then added and as soon as assembly was complete a number of finishes were applied to emulate the fashions of the time.
There was an enormous variety within the realm of the Windsor chair: A simple object to fulfil a basic human need, but at the same time reflecting a richness of craftsmanship that forms such an essential element of English country furniture.
Batheaston Furniture Makers revived the art of Windsor chair making in 1971 in a small workshop in a village on the outskirts of Bath. It remains a family run business dedicated to producing the very best Windsor chairs made today.