Jim Van Hoven makes Windsor chairs in his modest shop overlooking the St. Croix River Valley using the skills and tools developed by 18th-Century craftsmen. He produces all of the legs, stretchers, arm posts, and back posts free hand. He uses steam to bend green work for artms and bows, assembles each chair by sight line, and finishes it with milk paint a branded hallmark.
Van Hovenís fascination with Windsor chairs started in the early 1980s when he started collecting them. Recognizing the strengths and weaknesses in numerous repair jobs and seeing how materials and fabrication methods changed through time inspired him to learn more. became the force to learn more. He read books and took classes with Michael Dunbar so he could make his own adaptations based on period originals.
He is a member of the Society of American Period Furniture Makers and the Mid-West Tool Collectors Association. He sells and demonstrates his work at various shows.
Artists appearing in the 20201 Directory of Traditional American Crafts have been selected, and the best of their handiwork has been photographed at Cedar Grove, an 18th Century house museum operated by the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Look for the Directory in our August 2021 issue.
1,841 days until America's Sestercentennial
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