Dario Chair Maker
I hand-make Windsor chairs from my home workshop in Warwick, starting from sourcing logs from local woodlands if I can, which is getting harder due to ash dieback. The seat is pine, which I have to buy from a timber merchant. The spindles, legs and other parts are split from the log, whilst green for ease of working. I use a lathe to turn the legs and stretchers and these are placed in my small kiln to dry. I use a drawknife and spokeshaves to make the spindles and other parts. Each chair has at least one piece which is steam-bent, but some have over ten parts that need bending!
The pine is carved using various hand tools to create a surprisingly comfortable and curvaceous seat. The top is generally the only part I sand, as it is the biggest part of the chair looks better if smooth. I like to retain tool marks on the rest of the seat as there is always something new to touch and feel.
Once all parts have been dried appropriately, it is glued together, tidied up and painted using the lovely, vibrant colours from the Old Fashioned Milk Paint Company. The paint is rubbed back to varying degrees, depending on the chair, to give a warm, worn in glow. I finish with a plant based oil and wax.
I have been making these chairs on a part time basis for around three years and work part time in a school and as a maths tutor. This year I am really focussing on chairs and hope to be able to do this full time.
I post in progress work on my Instagram page and have photo albums of finished chairs on Facebook.