Teaching

Spend a week in a professional chairshop building a Windsor chair. Starting with a log, you will split parts with a froe, work them down with a drawknife, and steam bend the back. You will hollow the seat with inshaves and travishers, bore the holes freehand, and assemble the chair using wet/dry joinery to lock the chair together.

My shop is located in the woods of Orange County, North Carolina. A five minute drive brings you to the quaint shops of Hillsborough. The lively college town of Chapel Hill is twenty scenic minutes to the south. A number of bed-and-breakfasts and hotels are located nearby, and Chapel Hill has more restaurants than a horse has fleas, if your appetite can withstand the analogy.

All tools are provided, but you are encouraged to bring your favorite tools, or any tools that you want help tuning and sharpening. Emphasis will be placed on learning skills and techniques that you can take home with you (of course you get your chair too).


FOUR-PERSON CLASSES

My goal is to teach you how to build chairs at home on your own.  All aspects of the chair building process will be covered in detail, except for turning and finishing. I have no secrets and am happy to answer all questions as time permits.

Backs and spindles will be riven from oak logs and seats will be carved from a single piece of white pine. Due to time limitations, the turned parts (legs, stretches, etc.) will be provided. At class’s end, the chairs will be assembled and ready for you to finish at home.  All tools and materials are provided, plus you get a set of Curtis Buchanan’s plans for your chair.  No prior experience of any kind is needed to attend the class (unless otherwise noted). 

CONTINUOUS ARM CHAIR, December 4th to 9th, 2017 – $1200 – FULL
LOOP BACK SIDE CHAIR, January 22nd to 27th, 2018 – $1200 – One spot left
CONTINUOUS ARM SETTEE, February 19th to 24th, 2018 – $1400 – FULL (returning students only)
CONTINUOUS ARM CHAIR, March 19th to 24th, 2018 – $1200 – FULL
COMB BACK ROCKER, May 14th to 19th, 2018 – $1400 – FULL (returning students only)
CONTINUOUS ARM CHAIR, June 11th to 16th, 2018 – $1200

Send me an e-mail to register. If the class you want is full, don’t despair! Cancellations do happen, so e-mail me to be added to the wait-list.

Each fall subscribers to my blog receive an online survey where they can help pick the dates and chair types for next year’s 4-person classes. Sign up on the sidebar (page right).


ONE-ON-ONE INSTRUCTION

You have the choice of which chair to build. The best option for a first-time chairmaker is probably a fan back or loop back. Continuous arm and sack back are also possibilities. More complicated chairs may be possible if you have previously studied with me (or another instructor I can vouch for).   Classes run Monday through Friday.

$1700 per person — subject to availability

Bring your friends! Two or more students: $1400 each


CUSTOM INSTRUCTION

Need turning instruction? Want to make a stool? I am happy to teach shorter classes on a variety of topics, customized to match your specific interests.  Classes can be scheduled for any weekdays.

$350/day

“Elia! Thank you SO MUCH. The time just flew by for me. You are so quick to smile and laugh and make it all sound so simple … creating a laid-back setting from the very first day. I love the way you cruise the shop and step in with a ‘laying on of hands’ at those moments when we’re not quite getting it, yet not so often that we might feel like we’re not getting it.”
– Herb Forsberg


Take a glimpse into a chairmaking class in these photos of my rocking chair workshop at The Woodwright’s School by student Emily Neel, and this series of videos by Shannon Rogers, The Renaissance Woodworker.


Subscribe to my blog and receive a survey to help pick next year’s classes in my shop. You may subscribe to all blog posts, or just posts about my classes.


I will be teaching the following classes at schools around the country (classes in my shop are listed to page left):


“I have been making Windsor chairs for 7 years and sell at craft shows. I came hoping to learn a few new techniques and left with a completely new method of chair making that will greatly improve the quality of my chairs.”
– Doug McAvoy