The Windsor Institute was dedicated to the advancement of Windsor chair making.
Mike and his staff used a very personal teaching method developed by Dunbar in 1980. In this format, students worked side-by-side with Mike and his staff. We had broken down the complex process of making a Windsor into very doable steps. Each step was explained and demonstrated and then, with the help of Mike and his staff, students would do the same. At the end of the class each student took home his or her completed chair. More importantly, each student left knowing how to make that chair over and over again in a home workshop. Mike has taught more than 3,000 people to make Windsor chairs.
Each student began by taking the introductory sack back class which was held many times throughout the year. This class focused on the chairmaking principles that are common to all Windsors. Seven advanced classes were held during the year (some only once). When taking one of these, students could make the continuous arm, a side chair, a settee, a writing arm, a child’s chair, a rocker, or a large fan back. These advanced classes concentrated on advanced techniques. The basic principals are not repeated, and so our advanced classes were only open to people who had taken sack back with us.
Among other activities, Mike and the staff worked with a variety of outside suppliers to develop new or improved tools. Most of the specialized tools available to chair makers today were based on suggestions and ideas developed here. The tools then were tested by us before being put into production. The Institute’s staff was also involved in studying and researching Windsor design and developing improved chairmaking techniques.
In short, if it was happening in the world of Windsors, it was happening at The Windsor Institute. We welcome you to become part of the exciting and dynamic world of Windsor chair making.
Thank you all for many years of happy chairmaking… and rest assured the Windsor will continue on!