Mike Dunbar: Chairmaker and Presidential Kingmaker? - Popular Woodworking Magazine

Mike Dunbar: Chairmaker and Presidential Kingmaker?

 In Chris Schwarz Blog, Woodworking Blogs


Woodworkers know Mike Dunbar as the founder of The Windsor Institute, an expert in traditional woodworking techniques and the man behind the renaissance of the Windsor chair in the 20th century.

But did you know he also was the man who drafted Donald Trump into a run for the presidency?

Heck, I’ve known Dunbar for years, edited his articles and even attended a Windsor chairmaking class by him in May 2010 (read all about it here). And while I knew that he and his wife had once been active in politics, I had no idea that Dunbar was that connected.

You can read the entire story here on Boston.com. Even if you aren’t political (I’m not), it’s a fascinating story and includes some great stuff on what Dunbar has been writing lately: teen fiction!

Speaking of books by Dunbar, Popular Woodworking Magazine has just released Dunbar’s long-out-of-print bible on Windsor chairmaking. This book was selling for $200 and more on the used market. Dunbar has revised the text and now you can buy it for just $27 at ShopWoodworking.com. It’s definitely one of the most important books ever written on Windsor chairmaking. Click here to read more on “Make a Windsor Chair with Mike Dunbar.

— Christopher Schwarz


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Showing 15 comments
  • pearlsb4swine

    “And while I knew that he and his wife had once been active in politics, I had no idea that Dunbar was that connected delusional.”

  • spxf1113

    It always amazes me how the tolerant left is somehow extremely intolerant of those who don’t share their beliefs. The loss of Sullivans Papa will be a tough one to endure, but I’m sure you will be able to survive this major blow to magazine subscriptions.
    Chris, I always assumed you were a liberal, but since you provide me with great woodworking insight, I come here to read your blog. You are doing a great job.

  • gumpbelly

    Wow Chris

    Political or not, you sure know how to get some panties in a wad. Sheesh…. I come for woodworking, even then it`s sometimes woodworking I`m not interested in, but for a pol piece mention to get some panties in an uproar as a few here appear to be, all I can say is well done. It`s here, if it`s not something you want to embrace, move along peeps, move along. That said…………………………………..:-)

  • Jimboz

    Donald Trump and teen fiction!
    I could forgive Mike Dunbar for practically anything after writing “woodturning for Cabinetmakers”.

  • pjpryor02

    I have personally benefited from Mike Dunbar’s expertise as a woodworking and owe him much. It is a sad day in the woodworking community when we resort to running down one another due to political differences!

  • pearlsb4swine

    You don’t need to be “political” or even partisan to realize that Donald Trump is as fraudulent as his hairdo. He’s a climate change denier, a birther, a swindler (Google Trump University)…the list goes on. The Boston.com article states “Dunbar doesn’t see the Trump of today much differently than he saw Trump when he first tried to draft him in 1987”. Really Mr. Dunbar?!
    Sorry, but this diminishes Dunbar’s credibility.

    • Sullivans Papa

      right on!

  • the lighthearted woodworker

    Hey Chris–
    I read just about every word you write.
    While I don’t agree with Mr. Dunbar’s politics, and the last thing I want is for ANY politics on my woodworking blogs, I do admire your friendship with him.
    The only thing I have to say that you Chris are WAY to smart and well written to say that you are not political. I am certainly not saying you have to write or share any political views– but even an anarchist should be “political”. I think even Mr. Dunbar would agree.

    • Christopher Schwarz
      Christopher Schwarz


      I totally agree that calling myself and “anarchist” is a political statement. But that’s about as far as I go with politics. I don’t vote, I don’t read about politics, I refuse to talk politics with anyone and I refuse to judge people based on their political/religious/sexual/cat-person/dog-person affiliation.

      I fully realize that not being political is a political statement, too.

      Dumb paradox.

      • Sullivans Papa

        that you mentioned his support of Trump is no accident, I feel this diminishes your standing in my opinion. What next Chris? How about renaming your blog Fair and Balanced ala Fox News!
        I need to cut back on my mag subscriptions and this as good as reason to start with PW!

        • Christopher Schwarz
          Christopher Schwarz

          It is always a good idea to kill the messenger.

          • Megan Fitzpatrick
            Megan Fitzpatrick

            Good lord. You’ve referenced Shakespeare. Where are my smelling salts?!

            • pearlsb4swine

              Henry IV part 2?

  • Christopher Schwarz
    Christopher Schwarz

    Mike was a newspaper journalist and was a college French major – the guy reads Roubo in the native tongue.

    Very smart guy.

  • Jonathan Szczepanski

    I’m always glad to hear about people that have more than one talent/interest, especially those that are successful in multiple ones. It seems like Mr. Dunbar is another shining example of a woodworker that is a modern day renaissance man.

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