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Windsor Chairmaking by James Mursell


This book is the first new book about the making and design of Windsor chairs for over 10 years. It has been written with a broad readership in mind. It is aimed both at existing Windsor chairmakers and also at those who are perhaps contemplating making their first chair.

Detailed plans are included for two English and two American chairs. It is also aimed at those who are interested in both English and American Windsor chairs – dealing with them together throughout the book for the first time.

Those who wish to make chairs in the same way that they were made in the 18th century will find chapter 7 particularly interesting, as it discusses the lessons to be learned from the toolmarks left by an English maker on a chair dating from around 1750. Finally chapter 8 covers design and looks at the subtle messages that can be sent out by a chair which can be interpreted in the same way as human body language.

The book had 192 pages and is filled with colour photographs and line drawings throughout.


Biographical details: James Mursell

Age 52. James graduated from Cambridge with a degree in botany and having obtained an MBA worked in industry for a number of years including 2 years in New York. He then took over a family fruit growing business and ran it for 15 years before closing that down to concentrate full time on Windsor chairmaking.

He has been making chairs professionally since 2001. In 2004 he was asked by West Dean College to take over Windsor chairmaking courses from the late Jack Hill and he now teaches there 2 – 3 times a year. Enjoying the teaching so much, he converted a barn on his farm into a dedicated teaching workshop which can accommodate up to 6 students. He runs 15­20 classes per year. His students come from as far as New Zealand and Australia, and range in age from 20 to 85.

Being unable to purchase the tools that he needed for his craft, he has developed a range of spokeshaves and travishers which he makes and sells to chairmakers and other woodworkers around the world. When he is not teaching and making tools he makes chairs to commission using locally sourced English hardwoods from the nearby Cowdray Estate. His passion is for early English and American Windsor chairs which were made by individual craftsmen and which show the true elegance that is possible in these chairs.

James is a member of Woodland Heritage and the Sussex Guild. He exhibits and demonstrates in Sussex and around the country.

Signed copies are available for £19.95 (plus £2.75 p&p) direct from the author.

James Mursell
The Windsor Workshop
Tel: 01798 915 925

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