Superb reproductions of stately Windsor chairs have been the work of Rolf A. Hofer for over 37 years. Many styles of Windsors were produced in the 18th and 19th century. The ones chosen for reproduction were selected on the basis that a Windsor should be graceful, comfortable and historically accurate. These gracefully proportioned chairs have been researched for historical accuracy at Winterthur and other reliable sources, resulting in suitable accompaniments to antique collections as well as home and office furnishings and unique gifts.
Working in Southeastern Pennsylvania, Rolf takes advantage of the local availability of historically correct maple for the hand turned legs and stretchers, the 19" wide and full 2" thick tulip poplar planks which are "saddled" or carved by hand into one-piece seats, and the tough and resilient hickory which is hand turned into spindles and steam-bent for arms and crests. Each chair is secured with walnut wedges, hickory pegs, and glue. There is no metal in the chairs. Working with a variety of hand tools and machinery, he uses the construction techniques that date back to the 18th and 19th century chair makers.
Rolf learned woodworking from an elderly German cabinetmaker over a number of years in order to restore antique furniture. The research and restoration of antique furniture and chairs gave him the opportunity to study the construction techniques and wood selection of the early craftsmen. Encouraged to build Windsors by his wife and fellow woodworkers, he sought out a chair maker with 40+ years of experience, who provided a pattern for the first chair and a wealth of knowledge.
When not researching or building Windsor chairs, Rolf can be found fly fishing for trout and Atlantic salmon. For more than 50 years, Rolf has fished the waters of Pennsylvania, New York, Virginia, Montana, Alaska, New Brunswick and Newfoundland in Canada, and the North and South Islands of New Zealand-with varying degrees of "success."
Rolf's chairs can be found in collections from Canada to Florida, and Maine to California, in addition to England. In 1999 he was invited to build a miniature Windsor for the White House Blue Room Christmas Tree, and his miniature writing arm chair was pictured in the brochure distributed to White House visitors. He has been an invited participant in shows organized by the Winterthur Museum, Brandywine River Museum, the Mercer Museum, Pennsylvania State Museum, and the Hay Creek Historical Society, in addition to juried invitational craft shows throughout Southeast Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, and Massassachusetts. Rolf's chairs have appeared in articles and on the cover of Early American Life and in multiple articles in Colonial Homes. Rolf's craftsmanship as been recognized in the Early American Life Directory of Traditional Craftsman for many years. He has provided chairs for judicial chambers and as retirement gifts for bank executives in addition to other businesses and individuals. The chairs are custom produced by Rolf alone, singly or in sets, in historically authentic colors and stains. Special orders can be accommodated. His skilled craftsmanship brings forth works that are the epitome of the Windsor as exhibited in an irresistible blend of lightness, grace, and durability.
See our Windsor Gallery