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July 15, 2008

Interview with Michael Dunbar

I decided a couple of months ago (when I first found out about the Woodworking in America Conference) that it would be cool to actually hear from the presenters that are scheduled to be there. 

I for one enjoy talking about woodworking almost as much as I do actually doing it!  So, I set out to track down as many of the the presenters as I could.  To be honest, I was a little intimidated by the thought of interviewing some of the biggest names in hand tool manufacturing and woodworking.  People like Tom Lie-Nielsen, Robin Lee, Michael Dunbar, etc. 

But, what I found was probably not all that surprising.  They're people just like you and me.  Everybody has been very generous with there time and with their knowledge of the craft.  Woodworkers are a friendly bunch of people that are always ready to help out a fellow woodworker, and I have found the folks I've interviewed to be no different. 

So, I hope you enjoy this first in our series of interviews. 

Our first interview is with the Dean of Windsor Chairmakers, Michael Dunbar. Michael, along with his wife Sue, are owners of the The Windsor Institute , the only school in the world dedicated to teaching the art of building Windsor chairs. He has single handedly been responsible for the revival of building Windsor chairs, an art that was almost lost. Michael and his staff have also worked with many tool makers to improve the specialized tools involved in the making of chairs. His enthusiasm for Windsor chairs and for hand tools comes through loud and clear during our interview.

I know you're going to enjoy listening to Michael talk about how he got started in woodworking, The Windsor Institute, and what he will be teaching at this year's Woodworking in America Conference. After listening to the interview come back and check out The Windsor Institute's  website to learn more about all the different classes that are available, and while you're there, be sure to catch up on what Michael is writing on his blog .

After listening to the interview, come back here and leave a comment below to let me know what you think.

Interview with Michael Dunbar 

Craig

Comments (4)

Rik:

Love your interview with Michael. He brings humor into it which would bring a more relaxing atmosphere. I think you could learn a lot from him. I'm looking forward to the next interview.

(WR) Craig:

Rik,

I'm glad you enjoyed the interview. It was fun talking with him. And you're right, he definitely made the interview more relaxed with his humor.

He was also very understanding and patience. I had a couple of "technical difficulties" that made us have to start and stop the interview a couple of different times!

Everybody has been very generous with there time and with their knowledge of the craft. Woodworkers are a friendly bunch of people that are always ready to help out a fellow woodworker, and I have found the folks I've interviewed to be no different.

I'll let you know when the next interview will be out (probably next week).

Thanks,

Craig

Craig,
Great interview with Michael. I have built 2 Windsor Chairs so far and I am captivated by the art. I have been dreaming about a trip up to NH to take a class at the Windsor Institute and this interview is making me think about that sooner rather than later. I too, hope that I can get a chance to meet Michael at WIA in November. See you then!

Shannon
www.rogersfinewoodworking.com/blog

(WR) Craig:

Shannon,

I think it would be great to spend a week at the Windsor Institute as well.

I've never built a chair of any kind, but I've been doing some research over the past several months. A lot of the itch to build my first chair has came from reading Adam Cherubini's articles in Popular Woodworking Magazine recently.

Chair making always seems so intimidating, but most things do, I guess, until you stretch your skills.

Craig

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