A Set of Six Claremont Fan-back Windsor Chairs – Part Two

Busy chairmaker and all-round good bloke, Glen Rundell, dropped off the elm slabs for the chair seats last Thursday morning. Glen was also kind enough to collect a new spokeshave for me en route, so I thought I might be stretching the friendship a bit if I asked him to tarry a while and do a bit of planing.

Virginia regularly enquires if my arms are painted on; well, after reducing the two 2″ (52mm) thick elm slabs to six 20″ x 17″ x 1-5/8″ (500mm x 430mm x 41mm) seat boards, they may as well be.

6cfbwc_090213_01aFig. 1. The last seat board, flattened.

With all the seat boards flat, I drilled the leg and spindle holes and then cut the seats to shape (fig. 2).

6cfbwc_130213_01aFig. 2. Like a pile of cheese boards.

The glory of using thick boards is that they provide plenty of scope for deeply hollowed (and ultimately comfortable) seats. However, the seats can still be on the weighty side, so to reduce the bulk as much as possible, the bottom edges of the seats are relieved, which can also have the effect of making the seats appear impossibly thin and delicate (fig. 3).

Thames_Valley_beech_elm_&_walnut_comb-back_c1780_01aFig. 3. Circa 1780 comb-back chair with apparently wafer-thin seat.

Under-cut (fig. 4), under-cut-and-chamfered (fig. 5) and rounded (fig. 6) bottom edges are common variations on many Windsor seats.

yew_& elm_Gothic_Windsor_chair_c1760_01aFig. 4. Undercut seat edges, c. 1750.

Thames_Valley_double_bow_chair_c1760_01aFig. 5. Under-cut-and-chamfered seat edges, c. 1760.

painted_Windsor_c1740_01aFig. 6. Rounded seat edges, c. 1740.

The seat of the chair I am basing my chairs on transitions from a rounded edge at the front to a chamfer beneath the bob-tail at the rear – a common feature of bob-tail seats.

6cfbwc_130213_02aFig. 7. The combination of rounded and chamfered edges.

Jack Plane

About Jack Plane

Formerly from the UK, Jack is a retired antiques dealer and self-taught woodworker, now living in Australia.
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3 Responses to A Set of Six Claremont Fan-back Windsor Chairs – Part Two

  1. Looks like they will take a good sized bum


  2. Glen says:

    I’ve known plenty, in fact I actually worked with one for a while, but I digress. That’s some mighty fine looking Elm. The fella that cut that must have known what he was doing…..Oh, that’s right it was me! Nice cheese boards indeed.


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