Bob Dillon, Windsor Chairmaker

The REAL Bob Dillon.

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.

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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.





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