Luke Barnett was born on May 6th, 1985 in Adrian, Michigan. Which is where he currently resides. He is a woodworker and artist that specializes traditional American Windsor chairs. Luke has been selling Windsor chairs since 2011, and has been a full time chair maker since December 2013. Luke is the director of the Sam Beauford Woodworking Institute in beautiful Adrian, Michigan where he teaches woodworking classes including Windsor Chairmaking. He serves his community as and a executive member of the Adrian Noon Rotary and volunteer for the River Raisin Watershed Council. He travels around the U.S. to teach and share his gifts with other artists and woodworkers. Luke has won awards and been featured in internationally published magazines, Including November 2014 of Popular Woodworking Magazine in which his Continuous Arm Rocker in aged mustard finish was picked for best in the seating category for 2014. Early American Life magazine named Luke as Top American Craftsman in the Windsor chair making field for 2015, 2016 and 2017. Luke also received international recognition for his Contemporary birdcage rocking though multiple media outlets and publications. Luke has had chairs on display for a traveling Smithsonian museum exhibit called “The Way We Work”. Luke currently works and sells chairs out of his home in Adrian, Michigan.
Comfortable, Durable, and Beautiful. Every chair I make must be the best of the best in all three of these categories. I want to set the new standard on what a world class chairs and rocking chairs can be. Authenticity and true high quality is timeless and will always remain in fashion.
I start with the locally sourced raw materials. I choose the very best maple and oak logs, . The logs are hand split, and all my parts are riven out to ensure that I get the best quality, straightest grained wood. This process is very labor intensive but essential to get the strength and flexibility that I need to make light and elegant chairs. Machine made parts need to be made thicker and bulkier for sufficient strength. The thicker parts tend to be very stiff, making the chair uncomfortable.
When using traditional Windsor technology, you do not rely on glue to hold the chair together. The entire chair is joined together as if it were one piece. Although glue is not necessary, it is still used as a backup. I use hot hide glue pellets that I mix fresh for each chair.
I also mix my own milk paint, and I use shellac flakes, imported ultra-fresh from the only place you can get them. For a top coat I use an oil/varnish blend recipe that was passed down to me from a boat builder from the Alaska. The reason I do all of this is to ensure the best possible quality. there is not one step of the process that can be improved upon to result in a better quality chair.
Learn Windsor Chairmaking with Luke A. Barnett
Classes are offered at the Sam Beauford Woodworking Institute in Adrian, MI. We will start with logs on Day 1 and finish with a Windsor Chair in classes ranging from 4 to 8 days depending on chair style. Students will learn how to obtain and choose the ideal logs for a chair. Student will learn how to rive the logs to get perfect straight grained lumber. We will learn steam bending and how to build a kiln and control the moisture content in the wood to get the best out of it. We will sculpt the spindles and carve the seat. These are hand tool intensive classes. Register for classes with Luke A. Barnett at LongLiveWood.org