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Featured Windsor Chairmaker
Jeff Trapp


Jeff Trapp, Windsor chairmaker
Jeff Trapp's inspiration to build Windsor chairs began in Maine, while he was learning boat building. Noting the grace of antique Windsor chairs, he bought a plan for a Windsor chair and endeavored to make similar chairs. Jeff's goal in creating each chair is beauty, comfort and longevity.
Jeff Trapp Windsor Chair
Jeff works alone in his chairmaking shop in Madison, Wisconsin. He starts by harvesting trees from northern Wisconsin woodlands. Jeff uses his collection of antique tools to handcraft each chair. Jeff rives (hand splits along the grain) chair parts for the legs, spindles and bows. He uses wedged-tapered sockets for leg-to-seat and armpost-to-seat joints which results in a highly durable construction. He assembles the chairs with the undercarriage in compression which means the stretchers are holding the legs out, not in to assure structural integrity even if the glue fails.

Jeff Trapp Windsor Chair

" What is it about Windsor chairs? It's probably something a little different for everyone. For me it's starts with traditions, the designs, methods, experiences and history. Amazingly I've only found one place where I can improve on what the old timers did, and that's modern glue. I don't believe you can improve on their designs, the tools they used, their finishes or how they secured and prepared materials.
Jeff Trapp Windsor cradle
Jeff Trapp Windsor chair
I start with the traditional ideas, shapes and forms, I might think a leg is better at slightly different angle or with a different turning. Proportions might be improved by changing the back height or the angle of a stretcher. It might be more comfortable if I make the seat a little larger in front. But the feel, the sense of timeless shapes and lines stay the same.
Jeff Trapp Windsor chair
I don't try to make Windsors something they were never meant to be. I do nothing that takes away from the whole and leaves you with any other impression than a simple, nice looking, well proportioned chair. Beneath the looks are the woods, the joinery, the tools and assembly methods that have evolved over a long history. Chairmakers make their statements with how they unify all the small simple parts of their chair, the pattern of the turnings, the angles of the legs, stretchers, armpost and back, the sense of proportion in the complete chair. A good chair doesn't overwhelm, it just looks and feels right."

Jeff also offers one-on-one chairmaking instruction in his shop 4-5 times a year.

Jeff Trapp Windsor chair

Jeff Trapp
2540 Upham Street
Madison, WI 53704
Phone: (608) 241-7092

Windsor chair drawer by Jeff Trapp

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