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Thread: The Comb Back Windsor

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Central KY
    Posts
    17,004

    The Comb Back Windsor

    For nearly 50 years I have wanted to build a comb back Windsor chair, but the time, money and skill level never came together until recent years. I retired 6 years ago, so I have the time. The good Lord has been good to us, so the funds are available for all the necessary tools and materials.

    So, over the past few months I bought several new tools, some specific to chair building. I built the various forms, jigs and kiln and acquired plans and DVDs from Curtis Buchanan. My plans were to turn all the legs, stretchers and supports, rive out the oak parts, rough them out, and complete the build in a class at John C. Campbell to be taught last week by Brian Cunfer. The class was for a loop back, but Brian graciously agreed to assist me with the comb back since I would have much of the work done. But, with the Covid pandemic the April woodturning class I was to teach at JCC was cancelled and it became evident that the May chair class was going to be cancelled as well.

    So, I was on my own, but decided to give it a go since by mid April all the individual parts had been completed. There were moments, but things went fairly well. Curtis' plans and the videos were absolutely essential in absence of hands on instruction. Turnings are hard maple, seat is poplar and all other parts are white oak. Finish is a variant of the black on red done by Curtis and Pete Galbert. Learning the nuances of milk paint may have been one of the biggest challenges in this build!

    A little over a decade ago I was posting my flat work builds on SMC, then I got into turning and with few exceptions that was the end of flat work. I have enjoyed this chair project so much, that I fear it may now compete with my turning! There will definitely be another one this coming winter.
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    Left click my name for homepage link.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Spokane, WA
    Posts
    133
    John, the chair is stunning! And thank you for telling of your journey to get there.

  3. #3
    'Tis a beautiful thing! I've never seen such deeply turned arm supports. I like the color and,of course the mahogany
    look was always good. I have a friend who has commented ,several times, that the old Windsors often had deeper
    seats than modern stuff. Front to back dimension ,not scooping depth. I can't judge yours from the pic, but just pass it on as mo info.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Central KY
    Posts
    17,004
    Thanks, Mel and Rich. Mel, you may be right on the seat depth. I have Santore’s book and, while they vary significantly, many of the originals seem deeper front to back.

    Left click my name for homepage link.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Lafayette, Indiana
    Posts
    1,123
    The chair looks fantastic. I imagine it was quite challenging. Well done.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    SW Michigan
    Posts
    494
    Beautiful workmanship John. And that milk paint finish is gorgeous. I see that your 'flat work' is done to the same high standards as your turnings.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
    Location
    Eagle, WI
    Posts
    18
    Stunning chair. I love the finish. You must be thrilled with the outcome. Plans for more? Curtis and Pete are great teachers.

    Peter

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    WNY
    Posts
    6,622
    I'm not a fan of those chairs, but the workmanship and finish look outstanding. Is that a timberframe home you live in? My eye was immediately drawn to that structure. Beautiful.

    John

  9. #9
    There is a big difference between modern Windsors and the old ones on "fit and finish". I have wondered if a maker of
    today would prosper by less precision and sanding. Some of old ones are pretty rough, tearouts simply facing the back
    and tool marks visible all over. The number of chairs that 2 or 3 guys could turn out is astounding.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Goleta / Santa Barbara
    Posts
    754
    love it John, very nice indeed. Well done, sir.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Lake Gaston, Henrico, NC
    Posts
    4,867
    Gorgeous!!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    olmsted falls,ohio
    Posts
    454
    Stunning john great job.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    NW Indiana
    Posts
    2,499
    Very nice and quite an accomplishment. Glad to see people go after something like this.

    Two years ago, I went after one of those goals and built a Maloof style rocker.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Central KY
    Posts
    17,004
    Thanks so much, guys. This was the most satisfying woodworking project I have done. I am looking forward to the next one!
    Quote Originally Posted by John TenEyck View Post
    I'm not a fan of those chairs, but the workmanship and finish look outstanding. Is that a timberframe home you live in? My eye was immediately drawn to that structure. Beautiful.

    John
    John, our home is built with SIPs and only the great room is timber framed, but it is a large room - about 1350 sq ft with hammerbeam bents and 25’ ceiling ridge.

    Left click my name for homepage link.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
    Posts
    52,931
    Wow...nice job! I'm glad you got to do this project that you wanted to do for so long!
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

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