My Recent Buy–A Set of Windsor Chairs

A set of four 1950’s Rock Maple Windsor style chairs found on a curb of a charity shop heavily discounted to $25.

Much to the embarrassment to many who know me, I’m constantly on the lookout for bargains and will stop whatever I’m driving if I spot something antique or collectible alongside the road, in the trash or on the back of someone’s truck in a parking lot. I remember one time going to the movies with a girlfriend and spotting a mission style armchair dumped on the curb a block away from the theater. I managed to get it in the car, but there was no room left for me, so I walked the 10 blocks home to my apartment. I guess one could say there is little I like more than finding something undervalued or that with a little work can be salvaged and resold for a tidy profit. I have an advantage over most people in the business because I have a full woodworking shop at my disposal, but many items only need minor repairs or a repaint, something well within the skills of most people who can use a paint brush and a bit of glue.

My latest find, this past week in fact, was right along this line–a set of four 1950’s Rock Maple Windsor style chairs I spotted on the curb in front of a local charity shop. They were heavily discounted to $25.00 because two had been partially painted, one had paint spatters all over it and one had a loose rung. These were higher quality reproductions by a company called Roxton*, famous for their incredibly durable maple furniture in colonial styles. Even though these were high quality chairs, nobody had even made an offer because three of the four were painted, and only one had its original finish in very good shape. 

Three hours in the shop and ten dollars’ worth of paint totally transformed these chairs from trash to treasure.

The paint wasn’t an issue for me because I had been looking for a set of chairs to do a distressed chalk paint finish on and match to a table I’d picked up the week before (for $10.00). Repainting these chairs would be a simple matter of washing them down to remove any wax or oil and scuff sand on them before repainting. As it turned out, about three hours in the shop and ten dollars’ worth of paint totally transformed these chairs from trash to treasure. I’ll retail them for about $400.00 and I’m sure they’ll find a good home pretty quick.

*The Roxton Mill & Chair Co first establishment was in Roxton Falls, Quebec Circa 1904. The company bought the Waterloo Wood Co. in Waterloo in 1907 and began operations there, producing an estimated 50,000 chairs a year, mainly for the Canadian Market.   The company went through a range of expansion, but like many furniture companies they converted to war production during World War Two (1939-45). After the war ended, the company expanded production to include beds and kitchen tables. The factory remained in production until November 2004.

Mike Wilcox, of Wilcox & Hall Appraisers, is a Worthologist who specializes in Art Nouveau and the Arts and Craft movement. He can be reached through his website

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