5212 Pulaski Ave.
Philadelphia, Pa. 19144
Philadelphia Furniture Workshop

Build a Comb-Back Windsor Chair with Jim Rendi

Comb-Back Windsor Chair

Instructor:  Jim Rendi

Maximum Class Size:  9

This course has been redesigned in order that we might have Jim Rendi, a local Windsor chair maker and teacher for over 20 years, be the lead instructor.  The chair we will be building is a comb-back Windsor, and the details are important. 

The Windsor chair, in all of its various forms, is a truly American form of furniture.  Many Windsors were made in specialty turning shops staffed by 4 or more makers turning out 4 or 5 chairs a week.  But, these chairs were also made in small country shops.  Perhaps the maker was a farmer in the summer and a chair maker in the winter.   Jim believes the historic methods of work that went into a Windsor making are still the best to use, even today, and so this course will focus on those proven methods.

Historically, Windsor’s were painted, and therefore the types of wood used in a Windsor were selected more for their working properties than their appearance.  For our chair, the seats will be of Eastern white pine, known for its ease of shaping and carving.  The legs and stretchers will be of hard maple, known for its ease of turning and strength.  The comb and arm, and the spindles, are of green (i.e., not kiln dried) white oak.  Undried white oak works fairly easily, bends wonderfully, and is very strong.

The legs and stretchers are turned, and each student will be on his or her own lathe for this work.  However, the spindles are shaved, and the facets are left intact to inform of the hand nature of the work.  They are rived, and so quite strong.

In this class, each student will make the entirety of his or her own chair, from shaping the seat to bending the comb and arm, and from turning the undercarriage to shaving the spindles.  All students will leave with a completed Windsor which they made entirely themselves.   The painting of the chair will be left to the student for later.


Cost: $1,350 (including lunch and materials)

Here is the tool list.

There are three ways to register for this class. 
• One can click on the sign up button below.
• Give us a call at 215-849-5174.
• Send us an 
email and we will forward the registration materials.

  • Classes: 
  • August 14 - 18, 2017 and September 16-17, 2017 - days


Comb-Back Windsor Chair

Here is a close-up of a spindle.  As in traditional Windsors, the spindles are shaved, not turned, and so there are facets to the seemingly round members.  This is pleasant both from a visual and a tactile perspective. 

Here is a shot of the comb. The ends are finished in one traditional way; there are many possibilities here.

The arm is bent, and then lightly decorated and shaped.  Windsor chair arms were detailed in a wide variety of ways.