Mike and his staff use a very personal teaching
method developed by Dunbar in 1980. In this format, students work
side-by-side with Mike and his staff. We have broken down the
complex process of making a Windsor into very doable steps. Each
step is explained and demonstrated and then, with the help of Mike
and his staff, students do the same. At the end of the class each
student takes home his or her completed chair. More importantly,
each student leaves 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 begins by taking the introductory sack back class which is held many times throughout the
year. This class focuses on the chairmaking principles that are common to all Windsors.
Seven advanced classes are held during the year (some only once). When taking one of these, students can
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 concentrate on advanced techniques. The basic principals are not repeated,
and so our advanced classes are only open to people who have taken sack back with us.
Among other activities, Mike and the staff work 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 is also involved in studying and researching Windsor design and developing improved chairmaking techniques.
In short, if it is happening in the world of Windsors, it is happening at The Windsor Institute.
We welcome you to become part of the exciting and dynamic world of Windsor chair making.
We look forward to meeting you.