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Windsor Chair Purchase – unhappy - advice sought.

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Woodwould

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I've been in the antiques trade for over thirty years and owned an antiques and restoration business in Somerset prior to moving to Australia in 1992.

I have had the great pleasure of handling and selling some very fine British antique Windsor chairs over the years. My hobby is making furniture and I have made many Windsor chairs following various provincial styles, but I never actually kept one for myself. My timing is appalling, I know, but after I retired, an irresistible urge developed to make myself a stylish Windsor, but I don't have the facilities I once had to produce all the components of the chair.

I wanted a big bold chair that would make a powerful statement yet compliment other furniture and antiques in our home. I had a look through the renowned bible of English vernacular seating by Bernard D. Cotton, The English Regional Chair. However, I didn't see exactly what I wanted.

I recently purchased an excellent new book simply titled Windsor Chairs by Michael Harding-Hill, an established English dealer specialising in Windsors. Therein I found the precise style of chair I was yearning for; a double bow elbow chair with four cabriole legs, made in the Thames Valley region in the last quarter of the eighteenth century.

There is a Windsor chairmaker in the next village to the one I lived in before I emigrated, so I contacted Carl at Holland Chairs in Martock (in Yandles yard?) and asked him if he would make a chair of the style I had decided on. He quoted me ₤980 for the chair plus shipping and a couple of weeks later I received a few photos of my new chair, dry-assembled, and ready for shipment to Australia.





Carl was obviously very pleased with the chair as he placed the three photos on his web site:



To save on the cost of shipping (and also because I relished assembling the chair myself), I asked Carl to send the chair flat-packed. Carl assured me the chair had been fine sanded and all I then needed to do was to glue, assemble and polish the chair.

My Windsor chair finally arrived here on Thursday 16th of October. I opened the crate with huge anticipation. I was utterly appalled by what I saw. Every component – with the possible exception of the back bow - is simply unacceptable.

You can judge for yourself if the chair is acceptable.





































I emailed him the instant I finished unwrapping the contents of the packing case (Thursday 16th of October) asking that he contact me ASAP to discuss the matter, but he didn't respond in his normally prompt manner. I sent the same message by airmail on Saturday and I've still heard nothing back from him.

It could be Carl's away, but being a business, I would have expected to receive an 'out of office' notification by return if he was absent from work. I tried phoning him, but with no luck. I shall try again shortly (we're ten hours ahead of GMT at present).

Does anyone here know of Holland Chairs? Are they still trading?

Any help or advice at this point would be much appreciated!
 

Philly

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Ouch - it certainly doesn't seem to be fine sanded. And that's a pretty coarse chair for the money.
Philly :(
 

Karl

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Blimey - that is appalling. The more the pictures went on, the worse it got.

Hope you get things sorted. How did you pay for the item?

Cheers

Karl
 

PowerTool

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Don't know of them,and would like to see their response but..
I would be embarrassed to have this chair in my home
..
sums it all up for me - you certainly haven't got what you paid for :(

Hope you can get to a satisfactory conclusion.

Andrew
 

wizer

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At least it will keep you warm in the winter.... :twisted:

Seriously, file a complain with PayPal for item seriously not as described. Last time I did it (a long time ago) I got my money back with little bother.
 

OPJ

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Well, I sincerely hope you can get your money back or, at least some form of compensation.

If you're looking to try another maker then you could try contacting James Mursell, who is well known from many articles in woodworking magazines over here.
 

woodbloke

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I can't see the pics at the moment but from your description of the way this so called 'chair' has been put together, it sounds pretty appalling...do you celebrate the Gunpwder Plot on Nov 5 in Oz? - Rob
 

Lord Nibbo

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Glad I didn't make it :shock: I would be ashamed if I had to say I did make it. :sick: First words that come to mind to describe it "Shoddy, tatty"
 

maltrout512

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Woodwould, so sorry to see your major problem. It may be me but have a look at your elm seat and note the markings ie knots etc. Then have a look at the pictures that they had taken. I don't think it's the same chair, almost but not. It may be me and if it is sorry for pointing out. I hope that your problem is solved with little stress. As I am in the wood trade happenings like this make me cross, that someone has no thought to the customer what so ever. Got that off my chest. All the best.
 

OPJ

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You know what, Malcolm, I think you're right - we're looking at two different seats! :shock:
 

CWatters

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You probably should write to him recorded delivery to formally reject the chair. Otherwise you are probably deemed to have accepted it. Keep copies of the letter and any response for the credit card company. Normally you also have to give someone the time and oportunity to rectify so I would put a line in the letter asking him to respond by <date> (10 days) with details of the measures he proposes. If you don't get a response by that date then the credit card co should sort you out.
 

CWatters

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OPJ":3dt1j56d said:
You know what, Malcolm, I think you're right - we're looking at two different seats! :shock:
Certainly looks like it - the knotting is different. Unless the photos are mirrored left to right?
 

maltrout512

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OPJ I've had another look and what I think might be the case is that the block of elm that they used was say 50 / 60mm thick or so. It's been sawn to make two seats. Now the one that woodwould has, has been turned over, ie the two parts are opened like a book. The reason is that the knot marks are similar etc but are on opposite sides. I know this is not solving the problem, and this is only my opinion that there may have been a misrepresentation along the line. The photos could be mirrored, but although the quality of web photos aren't too good to zoom I can't see any filling on the ears of the top of the legs.
 

Woodwould

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I think the image of the chair that I was sent was flipped. If you look at it closely, you can see the same markings reversed.
 

Chris Knight

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How very disappointing for you. Indeed your pictures show that it is a very poor piece of work. I'd pursue recompense vigorously if I were you.
 
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