Windsor Chairs
and other heirloom quality pieces
Handmade from wood
by Cecil Robertson
Handmade in Missouri, USA


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For the spindles and arm of the Windsor chair, I start with a log. I want the log to be recently cut so it is still wet. It is much easier to work when it is wet.

How can you tell if a Windsor chair is hand crafted?
One way to tell is to look at the Spindles.

When you look at a finished hand crafted chair, you notice that the spindles are very thin and strong, whereas, on a manufactured chair they are much thicker. Why is this?

I start with a log, as shown in the photo. I cut the log to length, then split it into 8 pieces using wedges and a mall.

The secret: In the photo, I use a Froe and mallet to rive (split) it into one inch square pieces that will become the spindle. The grain of the wood runs the length of the spindle.

In a factory, the pieces are sawn and the grain may not run with the spindle, thus, it is much weaker so the spindles are made thicker for strength.



I use a Shave Horse vice to hold the Spindle. I am starting to round the Spindle using a Draw Knife.

I now use a Spoke Shave to finish making the square spindle approximately round. You can see the shavings that are produced. The waste shavings make great kindling for my wood stove and fireplace.

Two completed spindles are leaning on the shave horse.

I am holding two completed spindles and one that is not quite completed. I am also holding the draw knife. Two of my spoke shaves are on the shave horse. The spindle bulb (widest point) is 7/8” and it tapers to ½” at the bottom and to 3/8” at the top.

Hand-crafted means that the spindles are rived with the grain, making them very thin and strong. Also, since they are made individually, spindles are not all the exact same shape. Most are not exactly round, maybe a little different thickness.

Result: The finished chair has the charm, character and uniqueness of a hand crafted, one-of -a-kind heirloom.

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Last updated:
September 29, 2015


To order, contact: Cecil Robertson                      314-605-1410
           Located in St. Charles County, Missouri