rare•chairs came into existence in 1990 to rekindle interest in the traditional way of making Windsor Chairs.
The craftsmanship of the English Windsor Chair has a significant place in the history of world furniture. It is widely regarded as one of the most challenging forms of woodwork. To achieve the authenticity of the craft, chairs are constructed at rare•chairs using hand tools only. Many of these tools are rare and almost forgotten, some we have had specially made. One of the most intriguing devices used in chairmaking is the pole-lathe, an ancient form of foot powered wood turning lathe used to create the decorative legs, stretchers and spindles. This type of lathe was used in Egypt about 300BC. The design, perfected in the Iron Ages was also used extensively by itinerant woodland turners in the 18th and 19th centuries in England to supply components to the growing chair industry.
Today, this craft, almost on the point of vanishing, has been revived by rare•chairs so they can teach you the forgotten skills of the Turner, the Bottomer, the Benchman and the Framer.
The preservation of traditional chairmaking is increasingly important. rare•chairs builds authentic replicas of these unique chairs to comission and conducts chairmaking courses at their rural workshop in the Upper Hunter Valley NSW, Australia.