Stretching the Windsor Tradition
Stretching the Windsor tradition
Synopsis: Peter Galbert had spent years building Windsor chairs when he decided to push the design into areas that were unexpected. This curved settee is one result of his explorations. Like a traditional Windsor, the seat was the starting point for the design. Once he worked out the shape of the seat, the rest of the elements fell in place around it.
When I first delved into green-wood chairmaking from a life in cabinets and tables built mostly by machine, it was clear that I’d found my way to the work that I had been looking for. It wasn’t so much the Windsor aesthetic that drew my interest as it was a desire to work quietly and closely with the material and tools. Once I began working primarily with hand tools, splitting logs and using steam bending, the road seemed to open in front of me.
I then spent years building traditional Windsor chairs to hone my skills and understand the techniques. Soon, curves and angles that had seemed taxing in my former world of sheet goods and milled lumber became easy to conceive and execute. But I wanted to push the design end, to make chairs that were less expected, yet still rooted in the brilliant Windsor technology. In the spring of 2008, when I was invited to enter a piece into a show at the State University of New York at Purchase, it seemed a great opportunity to try some of the ideas that had been percolating as I built traditional chairs. I’d seen a curved settee in a book on Windsor chairs years before, and the notion had been knocking around in my head ever since. I thought it would be fun to build my own curved settee. For me, new chairs usually go through…