Jefferson Swivel and Secretary

Friday, January 13, 2012

Shaping a Windsor Chair Spindle

 After browsing over my past videos uploaded to YouTube, I watched the one on Spindle Making. While I'm never happy with the way most of my videos come out, that video I am defiantly not happy with. It shows basically nothing but a "buffoon" hacking away at a stick of red oak. I didn't speak one word as to what I was doing or how I got to that particular point in the process. It's just a close up of me trying my best to make a video on a subject I thought I knew something about.

So with spindles to make for the chairs I'm making now, I thought this is a good time to redo a spindle video. Maybe I can give someone wanting to make a Windsor, a little more detail on how to shape them than I had when I first started.  I'm going to leave the old spindle video up and let you all comment on which one gives more info on the process and helps you make a spindle. I'm pretty sure which one it'll be but I'll let you tell me in your own words. Who knows I may have to make another with better ideas from you.


  1. Nice work, Matt.

    Are you running your video camera tilted 90 degrees?

  2. Matthew,

    The camera is a JVC Everio and it's just setting on a tripod facing from the side and then I moved it to look over my shoulder for the final shaping. It's setting just like you'd hold it if you held it in your hand normally.

  3. Nice video. It gave me a lot to think about.

    I've always tried to have more support for the spindle but you seem able to work well with it mostly unsupported. I think you're push cutting mostly with your spokeshave while I usually pull cut. Will try both ways next time. And I have been more comfortable drawknifing with the bevel down but you seem to be bevel up.

    I liked your use of the measuring guage. Very fast and very efficient.


    Terry in Ottawa

  4. Terry,
    I do both, push and pull the spokeshave. I pull more than push but it's just whatever works for a certain area and for you. There's no right or wrong way to make a spindle if it comes out and works for the overall chair. This is just my take on it and being self taught, I may do it differently than most, but as long as the results are the same and it makes the chair look it's best, however you make them is the right way.