Bob Dillon, Windsor Chairmaker
A Little About Me
I am a native of Massachusetts and a 1977 graduate of the University of
Massachusetts. After earning my degree in forestry, I came to Minnesota
to work for the U.S. Forest Service on the Superior and Chippewa National
Forests. But after a few years I knew that a Government career was
not for me. I took a job at a small, production woodworking
company. After twelve years of making pool cue racks and other billiard
accessories, I struck out on my own.
In the mid-80s I had inherited some of my grandfather's woodworking tools:
some saws, planes, chisels, a couple of drawknives. He had been a
carpenter, as had his father and uncles. I had always thought it would be
fun to learn how to use these tools, do things the old fashioned way, take a
break from the noise and dust of routers and shapers and table saws. But I
was looking for some way to make a living, so that would have to wait.
Then I read an article about Windsor chairs in a woodworking magazine. The
article touched on some history, which was quite interesting. And the
chairs themselves were very striking. But what really caught my
eye and imagination: these guys were making chairs with hand tools -- and
making a living. I had to get in on this.
I bought a book, bought a few more tools, made my first chair, then another
and another and kept on going and haven't quit yet.