Ralph and Caron Quick create several different styles of Windsor chairs by hand. They use new and antique hand tools, keeping with the tradition of the early chair makers. Hard maple is the choice wood for the legs and stretchers, white pine for the seat, and red oak for the bows, arms and spindles. The red oak is steam bent for the bows and arms, and the spindles are rived and shaved to size. They are then pinned and wedged with wood wedges rather than using nails or screws. When the chair is complete, it is then painted with two coats of Old-Fashioned Milk Paint in traditional colors and given an antique finish. When dry, the chairs are then hand rubbed with Bri Wax to achieve a beautiful and lasting patina. Each chair is then signed and dated on the bottom of the seat with a wood-burning tool and written in a calligraphy style font.
They have both worked for the Historic Daniel Boone Home in Defiance, Missouri. Ralph was a volunteer in the chair maker’s shop and Caron worked as a historic interpreter for five years. They are re-enactors belonging to the 1st Royal Regiment of Foote, a British Grenadier military unit that re-enacts battles from the French and Indian War era. They also belong to a Spanish Militia dating to 1812. They enjoy working with children to help educate them in traditional crafts and living history.
Ralph and Caron were both trained at The Windsor Institute in Hampton, New Hampshire, taught by the prestigious chair maker Michael Dunbar. They are juried members of the Best of Missouri Hands artisan guild and were chosen as the Featured Artisans in the June 2005 issue. They are members of the Raintree Arts Council in Clarksville, Missouri, and Caron is the Vice President of the Clarksville Museum. Ralph and Caron have also been chosen by Early American Life magazine as one of the Top 200 Traditional American Craftsmen since 2004 and were chosen as one of the three artisans from the Top 200 in 2005 to receive the First Heritage Artisan Award, given to an artisan for having museum-quality work, an honor that they are very proud of.
Several of their chairs were chosen by Heritage House Studios to be used in the filming of the movie, “We The People,” narrated by Kenny Rogers. It premiered at the Omni-Maxx Theater at The Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C., in the fall of 2008.
They were also commissioned to create all of the Windsor chairs used in the historic Colonel Benjamin Stephenson Home in Edwardsville, Illinois. Their work can also be seen in St. Charles at the first state capitol of Missouri.
They love what they do and in a small way they are creating antiques for the future generations and a lasting, beautiful piece of furniture. Please feel free to ask any questions about their chairs.
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