RI Low Back Update

The RI low back chair class was a blast. The first time we teach a class it is like Homecoming Day mixed with a frat party. I can’t fully describe what it is like when all the old regulars get together. It is pandemonium. They joke with each other.  They joke with the staff.  We all laugh all week long. 

The class went very well. There was an incredible amount of talent in the room. As usual they suggested some tweaks that will benefit the next group that does that chair. By the way, that will be September 14. I had such an over flow of people wanting into the first class that I opened a second.   I was gratified that the class universally acclaimed the chair. I like it a lot. They did too. It is not only a handsome and masculine chair, it is very comfortable. 

By the way, I gave some misinformation in my earlier blog.  There were five Dukes of Windsor present, not three.  Add HG Don Harper who teaches here, and six of the 18 Dukes were in one room. That is 1/3 of them. 

* * * * 

HG Ralph Quick emailed us when he got back from the class. He and his wife Caron had been selected again for the Early American Life magazine list of

America’s 200 Best Craftsman. It is the couple’s sixth year in a row on the list.  In the middle of this horrible recession, can you believe that His Grace is still back ordered until August 2010.  

* * * * 

Sir Larry Wolf wasn’t at the RI Low back class, but he did email me a poem. He wrote concerning it: “A neighbor knows I make chairs and someone in her book club read this at a recent gathering. She thought I’d like it; I thought it must have been written for/about you.

I look forward to seeing you later this year at the 2 Kids chairs class. We’re due to become grandparents this July.  Larry.” 

 The Man Who Loves Chairs  By Terry Martin


The way some men need women,

He needs chairs. Sleek lines that

Curve toward clearer skies,


Arms that hold in wooden silence.

His behavior in regard to chairs

Is always correct-passionate,


But honorable. He does not approve

Of tipping forward or leaning back.

Collector of lovely things,


He owns a vast prairie of chairs,

Knows each one’s secrets. No moderation

Here. He will never have enough.


He tells you of the well-being of his,

Inquires about yours.

All decisions That count are made sitting,


Rulings final as the knife’s edge.

He sits straight-backed among them,

His legs crossed at the knee.


And what could be more right

Than for a man to live surrounded

by what he is willing to love?


* * * *


It has been a while since I included our feature A Duck Walks into a Chair Shop. We call that feature the best of chairmaker humor. The inside skinny is that chairmaker humor is pretty bad.

A Shaker chairmaker was working at his shave horse one day.  (Shaker chairmakers use shave horses.  No self respecting

Windsor chair maker would.) Suddenly, the handle on the Shaker chairmaker’s  drawknife broke.  Held only in one hand the runaway blade whistled past his head.   The Shaker chairmaker was lucky not to catch the knife in the head, but he was not totally lucky.  The knife blade sliced off his right ear.  As the blood flowed down his cheek, the Shaker called out to the rest of the shop for help.  Seeing what had happened everyone put down his tools and attended to the wounded chairmaker.   One of the Shakers harnessed  the horse to the buggy so they could  hasten their injured colleague to the hospital to have the ear stitched back on. The others got down on their hands and knees to look for the ear.  Knowing they were in a race against time, they sifted through the pile of shavings on the floor.   At last one of them shouted an exclamation of success and held aloft a bloody ear.  “I have it,” he proclaimed. 

“Let me see it,” said the wounded chairmaker.  After examining the ear closely he announced.  “No. That’s not my ear.  Mine had a pencil behind it.” 

* * * * To receive my eNewsletter of periodic updates, tips, tool reviews, and new sources, that are in addition to this blog, join our mailing list by emailing me at mike@thewindsorinstitute.com Help us spread the word about this blog. Tell others.