Jefferson Swivel and Secretary

Friday, January 13, 2012

Steam Bending Windsor Chair Parts

I'm working on another chair order and need to steam bend the bows for 4 sack backs. I thought it might be helpful to show how I go about the process for those wanting to make a Windsor. In this video, I'm starting with the already shaped pieces ready to bend.

I began by riving out the bows to roughly 1" x 1" x 48". After shaping them with a draw knife and spokeshave at the shaving horse to their pre-steamed sizes, they're ready for bending. I'm self taught at this and never learned how most chair makers go about it, so I don't move the bends from a bending form to a cooling form. I tie off the bent bows and hang them on the wall to cool. I have never had any problems doing it this way and it saves not only material for more jigs, but also a ton of space in the shop. Hope this video gives someone out there a little more encouragement to dive into Windsor Chair making. Steam bending can be used for several aspects in woodworking and it's also pretty cool just to watch happen in front of you.


  1. It looks so easy! I have noticed many people using a similar bending jig, where can I get instructions for making one of these?



  2. Paul,
    It's a 2x12 I cut to roughly 24" wide and 11" deep. It's made to be a little more open than the seat of my chair seat pattern. The platform is just a couple of pieces of plywood big enough to allow room for pegs and wedges to be placed and set. For exact dimentions, ill do a post soon on making one.