Mike Dunbar, the founder of The Windsor Institute and the leader in the renaissance in Windsor chairmaking announced today he is closing the school.
According to an e-mail sent to students, Dunbar and his wife, Sue, have sold the the school’s buildings and as of March 31, will not be teaching chairmaking.
The contents of the school – tools etc. – will be sold via auction by Martin Donnelly. Dunbar also is accepting offers on the school’s intellectual property, including techniques, patterns and instructions provided to the many students who have passed through the school.
Mike says he will continue to “make and sell chairs, and sell chairmaking supplies.”
Mike has been teaching chairmaking since 1980 and is credited with restoring interest in Windsor chairmaking. His techniques are a guarded secret among his students. I took a class from him several years ago to make a sack-back chair and have a notebook filled with chairmaking tips and techniques I’d never heard before.
You can get a very good dose of Mike’s knowledge by the recent reissue of his classic book: “Make a Windsor Chair With Mike Dunbar.”
We’ll have more information on this story as it develops. I wish Mike and Sue well on the next stage of their lives.
— Christopher Schwarz