Many specially designed hand tools are used when building a traditional Windsor chair. I designed and built this tool chest to safely a good share of the tools I most often use in Windsor chairmaking projects.
One of the steps in building a handmade Windsor chair is to cut and fashion a chair seat in the traditional way. These are the tools that I use to cut and carve the pine Windsor chair seats, include smooth and jack planes, a gutter adze, a scorp, travisher, drawknife, chisels, and several spokeshaves. Each of those tools has a steel blade that is very sharp and is efficient in cutting wood fibers. Nevertheless, it is an incomplete list of hand tools that I given you as other specialty tools are also used needed depending on the type of Windsor chair being built. Most of them are not available in your local hardware store and mine are either antique ones or were specially made for Windsor chair making. I was fortunate to be trained as a Windsor Chair maker by Mike Dunbar of The Windsor Institute, in Hampton, NH. The training included acquiring the right tools, keeping them sharp, and knowing the correct way to use them. The tools haven't changed much since 1730 when the first Windsors were made in America.
Another key step in making a handmade Windsor chair is acquiring the best materials for chair legs, turned spindles, carved spindles, and bows, arms and crests. Boards can be readily acquired from a lumber mill by any woodworking enthusiast, but Windsor chair parts for an authentic chair, which should last 200 years or more, demand grain that is straight and won't run out on the sides of a critical part. As a Windsor chair maker, trained in the traditional ways, I prefer to obtain the raw materials for those chair parts directly from logs. I use wedges, sledge hammers, axes, a maul and a froe to take the raw log and split it into 8 or more segments. Watching the wood grain and paying attention to the splitting action of the wood allows me to control the splitting so I can obtain chair parts that are riven from the log. This is what trained chair makers can do, they take a log and carefully split it into workable size billets for carving, turning or planing into various chair parts.