"I make no tables, no bookshelves, no toys, sideboards, cabinets or other furniture - just chairs."
Yes, Glen only makes chairs. And not just any chair, his speciality is
the Windsor. But chair making alone has earned him the reputation as one
of Australia's most loved chair makers. His chairs, settees, stools and
beautifully crafted rocking chairs are sought after by private
collectors and discerning buyers both in Australia and overseas. His
clients understand that these chairs are an investment that will
out-live them, an heirloom piece that will be passed down through
generations to come.
When you step into Glen's workshop there is a sense of tradition,
authenticity and the feeling that here is a place where you will find
craftsmanship in a real true sense.
The Windsor chair is a traditional Welsh country style chair and a
design that goes back to 1600s. It is a chair built with a solid wooden
seat into which the chair-back and legs are round-tenoned, or pushed
into drilled holes. Traditionally, there were three types of craftsmen
involved in the construction of a Windsor chair. Firstly, there was the
Chair Bodger, an itinerant craftsman who worked in the woods and made
just the legs and stretchers, on a pole lathe. Then there was the
Benchman who worked in a small town or village workshop and would
produce the seats, back splats and other sawn parts. The final craftsman
involved was the Framer. The Framer would take the components produced
by the Bodger and the Benchman and would assemble and finish the chair.
Glen, however, does it all by himself.
When Glen decided to learn chair making, he struggled to find a master
in Australia. So, he sold his motorbike, bought a ticket to America and
learnt the trade under the wing of Curtis Buchanan, a veteran craftsman
who has been teaching for more than 30 years.
Yesterday, my Rundell Perch arrived to our workshop - not as a
replacement to a trusted watchmaker's chair - I simply bought it because
I have always wanted one.
What is so special about the three legged perch?
1. First leg is the workmanship. Made by Glen, the man of passion and
vision, with his own hands, to his own standard of brilliance.
2. The second leg is the wood. The America Walnut is premium American
timber which lends itself beautifully to cutting, turning and polishing.
Out of all natural materials, wood is the most noble one.
3, The third leg is ergonomics. The original Perch stool was made by
Glen's Master, Windsor chair maker Curtis Buchanan based on parameters
provided by Dr. Galen Cranz. Cranz is a Professor of Architecture at the
College of Environmental Design, University of California, Berkeley.
She studies the social and cultural bases of architectural and urban
design. Cranz is a certified teacher of the Alexander Technique, a
kinaesthetic educational system, who founded the new field "Body
Conscious Design." The idea behind the stools design is that knees are
situated lower than pelvis which requires muscle 'to work and support'
the body. Consequently, the spine is straight. Glen says: "Your best
sitting position is the next one" meaning a good chair is one which will
make you stand up, walk, stretch your legs - and then welcome you