I recently told you about my least favorite activity – riving logs. With the change of season from spring to summer I am now doing what I like best. I am making the chairs for the Knights’ Privilege. You may not know what that is, so I’ll explain. We like to add a new chair to our curriculum each year. We dub that new chair the Knights’ Privilege. When I am in the process of preparing this project I am in the shop alone. I am making a chair (or sometimes chairs) that I have never done before. I am working out angles, dimensions, proportions, shapes, joints – the things that are the core of Windsor chairmaking – the things that are the most interesting, exciting, and exhilarating. At this time every year I am at my very best. I get to put 41 years of experience to work.
When deciding what chair to include next, I consider historical Windsors that make us of techniques we do not already teach. For example, a couple of years ago we added the balloon backs, as these allow us to teach the crinoline stretcher. This year we added the square back settee and its unique joints and techniques.
Once the new chair is established we schedule it as the Knights’ Privilege, meaning it will be the first class of the next year. The name implies a bit more, as well. Chairmakers who complete a certain curriculum are inducted into the Royal Orders, a combination honor society and fraternity. They assume the title of Knight of Windsor and are entitled to the privileges that appertain to this rank. (There’s a story behind this that you can find in the archives. There’s also a whole lot of humor, spoofing, and general tomfoolery.) One of the privileges of being a knight is first crack at the new class every year.
I will write my monthly essay about the new type of chair in either October or November. Most people who subscribe (you only need to send me your email address) will see the chair on the 15th of the month, the publication date. Members of the Royal Orders will receive the identical essay one week earlier. They have that amount of time to reserve a spot in the class without being disappointed. That is their privilege. On the 15th of the month, the class is opened to all our other alumni. The Knights’ Privilege is an advanced class and it is required that you have taken our sack back class. Every year a number of people try to cheat and email me asking what the Knights’ Privilege is. I refuse to tell them. On the other hand, every year some knights email and say “Book me, Danno. I don’t care what the chair is. I want in.” Those who display that level of faith get a spot. When you receive your 8-15-13 essay you will notice the Knights’ Privilge is partially filled. That’s why.
In the 7-15-13 essay you read about the silleros, the chair men of the Andes. I received a note from a student who lived a number of the years in that region. He wrote that he had seen silleros (also called cargeros) carrying full sized refrigerators – far heavier than a full grown man – up and down mountain passes.
This week the second of the books in The Castle Series, The Lost Crew will be launched. While I don’t yet have a link to give you, you will be able to find it by searching on Amazon either by title or author (Mike Dunbar). This is the link to the first in the series. http://www.amazon.com/Hampton-Summit-Castleton-1/dp/1482731622/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1367021219&sr=1-1&keywords=the+hampton+summit The third book, The End of Time is being serialized at my other blog http://www.tumblr.com/blog/mikedunbar ****
To receive my monthly essays about chairs and chairmaking, that are in addition to this blog, send your email address to firstname.lastname@example.org