A student uses a chisel and mallet to carve his name on the underside of a child’s Hoop-back seat at Richard Grell's Woodworking Workshop.
A student uses a chisel and mallet to carve his name on the underside of a child’s Hoop-back seat at Richard Grell's Woodworking Workshop.

Three new classes have been added to master Windsor chairmaker Richard Grell’s Woodworking Workshop in Hudson, OH. The fine woodworking instruction covers the authentic crafting of either adult or child-sized Hoop-back Windsor Armchairs and Grell’s unique techniques for applying aged-paint finishes on a Windsor footstool.

All materials and tools are provided in each workshop, and prior woodworking experience is not necessary. Classes take place in a converted barn with a limited amount of students to guarantee one-on-one instruction.

“I’ve been building Windsor chairs for over 40 years and as a master craftsman, I’m eager to pass on the techniques I’ve developed,” said Grell. “It’s a one-of-a-kind experience for hobbyists, as well as skilled woodworkers and I'm very excited to share it.”

Students will gain knowledge of how to build a Hoop-back Windsor chair, both adult and child-sized, in the Hoop-back Windsor Armchair classes, applying century-old techniques with traditional tools and methods. Students will carve, whittle spindles, steam bend an oak bow, wedge joints and turn on a 200-year-old foot treadle lathe. The Aged-Paint Finishing concentrates on skills for applying an antique paint finish on a Windsor footstool that Grell crafts.

“It’s more than the product, but also the process,” said Grell. “Like smelling the wood chips as you carve, the grip of the wood in your hands while bending a steamed piece of oak, and the sound a sharp hand tool gliding over the wood.”