New Windsor Chairmaking Classes with Richard Grell

GrellIn his April 2013 Design Matters column, George R. Walker introduced to our pages the work of Windsor chairmaker Richard Grell, and shared the fascinating story of how a devastating fire and its aftermath proved the enduring strength of the Windsor form. (Download and read that article here: A_Chairmakers_Design_Lessons.)

Today, I received a press release announcing that Grell has added new classes – a hoop-back Windsor chair, aged-paint finishing and a child’s hoop-back Windsor chair – to his offerings at the R. Grell Woodworking Workshop in Hudson, Ohio (about 30 miles southeast of Cleveland).

If you want personal instruction on Windsor chairmaking but you’re located in New England, consider a class with Mike Dunbar at The Windsor Institute in Hampton, N.H. or Peter Galbert in Sterling, Mass (but you’ll also find him at Marc Adams school of Woodworking in Franklin, Ind., this September, and at Woodworking in America in October). In the South, you many find Curtis Buchanan’s Jonesborough, Tenn., studio more convenient – and in the deeper South, try The Woodwright’s School in Pittsboro, N.C., where Elia Bizzarri is a frequent instructor. In the West, check out the Port Townsend School of Woodworking in Port Townsend, Wash. (though you’ll have to wait for 2014) and the Northwest Woodworking Studio in Portland, Ore. (where it appears there’s one spot left in Elia’s August class). And I’m sure I’m missing a lot of teaching resources – please add them in the comments!

Why am I writing about Windsors? Well, we’ll soon have some exciting news on that front that I’m itching to reveal…but can’t…yet. And, my dining room chairs are rickety, uncomfortable and don’t fit my style (sorry mom), so I’m thinking about jumping head first into chairmaking, and trying my hand at a sack-back or fan-back version. Though I may settle on a Welsh stick form instead; I just can’t decide. Anyway, I have chairs on the brain.

— Megan Fitzpatrick

4 thoughts on “New Windsor Chairmaking Classes with Richard Grell

  1. Richard Grell

    Megan,

    Thank you for posting George Walker’s April 2013 article “A Chairmaker’s Design Lessons” and the link to my web-site.

    I’m pleased to read about your interest in Windsor chair construction. I would love for you to join me in historic Hudson, Ohio for one of my classes. Founded in 1799, Hudson was part of the Connecticut Western Reserve.

    My Windsor chair, featured in George Walker’s article, was one of eight that survived the devastating fire and three years of Ohio elements at the home of Nancy Kalin.

    Over the years, one of these chairs would travel with me to shows where I exhibited. It would always catch the attention of woodworkers as well as Windsor chairmakers. They were perplexed and intrigued with how my Windsor’s were constructed. At that time I was flattered, but kept my construction methods and techniques to myself… until now. I’m self-taught and have been a professional Windsor chairmaker for forty-one years. My classes will teach you the unique traditional methods that I have developed and were influenced by my aerospace background.

    Richard Grell
    http://www.RichardGrell.com

  2. blefty

    It was a pleasure to meet Curtis Buchanan, Don Weber and Brian Boggs at a furniture show in Knoxville, Tennessee, almost two years ago. I don’t travel too far but I thought this was a fine show. I prefer Mr. Buchanan’s chairs, but that may be due to knowing how much physical work it takes to produce his work. If you have watched some of Mr. Buchanan’s videos, you quickly realize that his method is very labor intensive. All three makers do such excellent work. Mr. Weber was fascinating. And come to think of it, his work may be more physically demanding than Curtis Buchanan’s. Mr. Bogg’s chairs and furniture have turned into engineering marvels. One of the furniture makers had brought a reproduction of a Thomas Jefferson desk that he had made using the same type tools available in that period. I’m sure some fo your readers will know the name of this show and who brought it together. I think it will be back in Knoxville this fall.

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