Making a Windsor Chair – Mike Dunbar of The Windsor Institute

The Windsor chair is an iconic chair design dating back to the 16th century. The basic Windsor design features a back full of spindles, a dished seat, and four legs that do not extend up the back of the chair like typical/standard chair designs. Instead, all four legs terminate into the seat. Recently Mike Dunbar of the Windsor Institute put together a free series of educational videos showing step by step how to make a Sack Back Windsor chair. Below is a short message from Mike followed by his 13 part video series.

My name is Mike Dunbar and I am suggesting a blog topic that I believe will interest your readers. I made Windsor chairs for 45 years. Beginning in 1980 I taught Windsor chairmaking around the United States and Canada. In 1994 my wife Susanna and I gave the craft a home when we opened a school named The Windsor Institute. Our program of classes was recognized throughout the world. We taught as many as 35 classes a year with a maximum of 28 students. We estimate we taught Windsor chairmaking to some 6,500 people.

In 2016 Susanna and I retired and closed The Institute. However, those unable to attend a class begged us for help. Susanna and I heard their pleas and decided on a solution: to videotape our celebrated introductory sack back class and post it on a YouTube channel. That way, anyone can take our class and make an heirloom Windsor chair without ever having to leave home.

You can visit The Windsor Institute facebook page here and see all of Mike’s book publications here. For more chair making videos from Mike you can subscribe to his YouTube channel here. The following 13 videos cover the chair making process.


  1. I look forward to waching and learning from this video series.
    I do have one question though – How does one retire from woodworking? I thought we had to die with sawdust on our sleeves.

  2. What a wonderful series. Mike is well known for his Windsor Chair making and teaching. Wish I could have attended one of his classes. Thanks Jay for posting this.

  3. Thank you Jay, had the fortune of meeting Mike several years back when he lectured at our club the Northeastern Woodworkers Association, unfortunately like most of us I could never work in the time to take classes with him, now that I’m 70 I still can’t find to take the classes that I’d like but this is the next best thing.

  4. Thanks for the link. Took a while to watch, but it was worth it. I can’t believe he posted the whole process. It’s nice to see that you promote other YouTuber’s.

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