Custom Kitchens, Furniture, and Architectural Millwork

302 W. South Street

Montour Falls, NY 14865

Phone: 607-535-6540

Fax: 607-535-8096

Chicone School of Windsor


Now accepting registration for our fall classes, email us at

Chicone Cabinetmakers' School of Windsor offers a five-day Windsor chair making course several times throughout the year. Traditional green woodworking techniques are used as students craft a bench-made sack-back Windsor chair. At the end of the course students will have their individually handcrafted chair and the experience needed to craft Windsor chairs in their home workshop.


  • Each chair is bench made by hand using traditional woodworking techniques. At the Chicone School of Windsor; chairs feature maple or black birch legs, red oak backs and spindles, and a pine plank seat bottom.
  • After shaping the chair back and arm on a shave horse, the pieces are steam bent and dried. The shave horse is a traditional foot operated clamp with a sliding saddle seat. For making chair backs and spindles, this becomes your workbench.
  • Red oak for the spindles are rived from green (freshly cut) logs. Each spindle is then whittled on a shave horse, leaving the grain unbroken from end to end. This feature of continuous grain gives each component its strength after assembly.
  • A seat pattern is drawn on a blank and then hand-carved for contour. The legs are set using a traditional tapered lock joint, which increases the chair’s stability.
  • Once the spindles have dried sufficiently, they are sized to final dimensions and the assembly process begins. The chair back and spindles are also attached into the seat bottom and again secured with wedges.
  • Windsor chairs feature tapered joinery, weight on the seat of the chair causes the joints to strengthen not loosen, as is the case in traditional round tenon joinery. Their strength and stability make them a treasured American classic.


We start the week with a general course overview and orientation. After reviewing tool sharpening and preparing your tools, you will rive spindle, bow, and arm stock from green logs, then begin whittling stock on the shave horse.


You will finish roughing out your spindles, arms, and bow, steam bend the bow and then start the drying process. A lathe demonstration will feature turning techniques typically used in the Windsor chair making process. You will learn how to sharpen your spoke shave, and begin the final shaping of your spindles.


We will mark-up, drill and begin carving your pine plank seat. We will fit the legs in the seat, and measure for the stretchers. Finally you will finish carving the seat and shaping the spindles.


Your chair is really beginning to take shape, you will shape and smooth your bent bow and assemble the seat with legs and spindles.


Final assembly includes leveling your chair, removing protruding leg tenons, and fitting the spindles and bow to your chair. There will be a milk paint application demonstration, so you can finish your chair once you take it home. For an additional fee we will be happy to apply milk paint finish to your chair and ship it to your desired location (we can provide an estimate based on your shipping location).