When I am not being pastor for my congregation in Dolgeville, I work on building Windsor chairs. It is a labor of love and now a part-time business for my wife, Barb, and me. Windsor chairmaking is a perfect fit for my woodworking and a woodcarving skills. I am proud to be called a chairmaker, especially one that makes Windsor chairs! Windsor chairmaking is a perfect fit for this person because I’ve always loved to work with hand tools. For me, making a handmade American Windsor chair is the closest thing to making a handcrafted duck decoy. I love duck decoys, especially the hand carved ones, but I love to make Windsor chairs more. My dad got me started using hand tools as a kid, and like many woodworkers , I quickly learned that a sharp hand plane or spokeshave can offer far more control in the shaping of the wood. Being good at using hand tools also offers something else–tool marks as the telltale signs of quality–evidence of good ol’e fashion American craftsmanship. To those who appreciate antiques from the 17th and 18th century, tool marks left behind by master chairmakers never go out of style when it comes to making reproductions. Tool marks are evidence of an authentic Windsor chair reproduction.
So today, I want to show you a fine chair I just completed. It is a Nantucket Fan Back chair and the most comfortable Windsor chair out there in my opinion. It is a bigger chair and designed for a person to sit in it longer. It has some awesome carving details that you can truly enjoy. Being a woodcarving for over 27 years, I always look forward to carving the arms and crests on the Windsors. This one I finished with a distressed black over red milk paint finish that I rubbed out carefully to mimic an aged surface. I say distressed because I used the antique crackle product sold by the ™Old Fashioned Milk Paint Company and it leaves a distinctive antique appearing surface. I hope you’ll enjoy looking at it. I spent many hours rubbing it out, before sealing it with a gel polyurethane sealer.
I’ll be offering chairs like this Nantucket Fan Back on my website at www.chairsbypaulson.com.
Rev. Jim aka “jim the chairmaker”