Masters of the Craft

Masters of the Craft

Peter Galbert's House of Windsor

comments (3) October 23rd, 2012 in blogs, videos

JonBinzen Jon Binzen, senior editor
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Video Length: 4:55
Produced by: Jon Binzen

When Windsor chairmaker Peter Galbert and his wife, Sue, moved from Upstate New York to Sterling, Massachusetts last year, they found a house with a history. They loved the 210 year old timberframe house for its bones, but also for its background-they were floored to learn that the house was built by a Windsor chairmaker, and that a chair shop had stood beside the stream across the road for 150 years before collapsing in the 1950s. Then they discovered that the quiet town of Sterling was once a powerhouse of chairmaking. In the early decades of the 19th century, the town had dozens of small chairshops that together produced as many as 70,000 chairs per year, making Sterling the capital of chairmaking in Massachusetts.


Although the old chair shop was gone, the house had an attached carriage house that was paneled with planks salvaged from the old shop. It didn't take long for Galbert to size it up as the spot for his new shop. This slideshow gives a tour of Galbert's new/old shop, highlighting tools that Galbert makes for his own use and for sale-some of them ingenious, some beautiful, some both. It also presents an array of his Windsors, which look quite at home in the Galberts' beautiful old house of Windsor.

More Masters of the Craft Slideshows

Silas Kopf: Majoring in Marquetry
Peter Sandback Nails His Designs
Liam Flynn: Virtuoso Vessel Maker
John Reed Fox: The Uncompromising Craftsman
Jere Osgood: Modesty and Mastery
Ulrika Scriba's Marquetry: Risk and Reward
Adrian McCurdy: Furniture Riven from the Log
Geoffrey Warner: Assembling a Life
Peter Shepard Turns the Page
Curve It Like König
Partners in Craft: Harold Wood and John O'Brien
Tool Chest with an Arts & Crafts Legacy
Adrian Potter: Thinking Furniture
Hank Gilpin: Exploring the American Forest
Doug Mooberry: Kinloch Woodworking
Michael Hurwitz: Planks into Poetry
Brad Smith: Story of a Stool
Hank Holzer and Judith Ames: Labor of Love
Michael Fortune: The Clever Chair
John Cameron: A Musician in the Woodshop
Allan Breed: The Past Recaptured
Kintaro Yazawa: Joint Wizardry
Grant Vaughan: Subtropical Virtuoso
William R. Robertson: Micro Maestro


posted in: blogs, videos, chair, slideshow, windsor, masters of the craft, chairmaker, galbert

Comments (3)

gstilwell gstilwell writes: A very, very accomplished woodworker.
I would take some exception to his description of the Windsor leg mortices, though. He describes them as being tapered, and "will actually tighten as the sitter sits on the chair" I submit that if the joint moves and gets tighter when someone sits on it--the joint has failed, period.
If the joint moves and gets tighter when you sit on it, what happens when you pick up the seat? do the legs fall off?
The design of the Windsor is such that as the legs are driven into the seat and locked, the stretchers are also locked in place, creating a solid undercarriage, if the leg mortices fail, the stretchers necessarily will loosen over time, resulting in a 'wobbly' chair, with potential stretcher failure.
Posted: 8:46 pm on March 9th

PatrickTipton PatrickTipton writes: Wonderful video and story Jon.

In addition to being a wonderful chairmaker and toolmaker, Peter is also a superb teacher! If you ever have the chance to get individual or group instruction from Pete, jump on it!
Posted: 7:08 pm on November 30th

sdbranam sdbranam writes: I got a chance to try Peter's travishers at the Lie-Nielsen Hand Tool Event at Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking last weekend. They are amazing, just a dream to use. We were standing around excavating a big chunk of pine for a seat without any need for adze or inshave. He now employs his friend Claire Minihan making them, and she does a fantastic job.
Posted: 8:08 am on October 28th

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