“I may not be able to draw a stick figure, but I can build chairs and that makes me feel artistic,” said Chad Jones, whose lifelong passion for woodworking began when he was just 7 years old.
His first piece was a birdcage — built with his dad’s tools and hung in the corner of his bedroom — that was the beginning of his fascination with building and creating. Since then, he’s fabricated everything from bowls and mugs to tables and cabinets, and even built his own home with the help of his father.
Now through his woodworking business, “Knotty Alder,” Jones has honed his focus to furniture making with a specific focus on Windsor-style chairs.
Jones, a retired locomotive engineer and woodworker, builds stylistic furniture, particularly Windsor- and Maloof-style chairs. Fascinated by furniture design and excited by hands-on creation, Jones has turned his passion into a profession as he creates custom pieces for sale and teaches his artistry to others.
Named for the English town of Windsor where it is thought to have originated in the early 1700s, the Windsor chair is made of curved spindles and has a slightly reclined, rounded back. It is constructed mostly from hand tools, which is what attracted Jones to the style.
The process for creating a Windsor chair begins with a large wooden log that is split into parts, steamed and shaped. Working in the traditional style, Jones uses a shaving horse to make the chair’s spindles and a lathe to turn the legs. The final piece is typically painted or stained for uniformity, becoming a handcrafted, functional work of art.
What satisfies Jones even more than creating the Windsor chair is teaching others how to build it themselves. His studio at The Monarch is education-based, as he regularly hosts one-on-one classes and workshops in the space.
In one of his woodworking sessions, students begin with large blocks of wood and leave with a completed Windsor that is ready to be painted or finished. Maloof-style rocking chair workshops are also offered.
One of Jones’ most sought-after styles is the “Nanny Rocker,” a complicated and artistic Windsor chair design that includes a baby cradle extension. Other styles include perch stools, double rockers, dining table sets and more ... even rolling pins.
You can visit Jones inside his studio at The Monarch anytime to see what he’s working on, sign up for a class or order a custom piece. You can also catch him in the Knotty Alder studio during Open Studio Night on Friday from 6-9 p.m.