Hans Schmidt


Windsor chairs, a specialty

A Little About Hans Schmidt

Johan Schmidt was born in Rhede, West Germany and comes from three generations of woodworkers. His grandfather owned a small furniture factory in East Germany on the Baltic Sea. His father, Johannes A. Schmidt was formally trained in a German guild and later owned his own home building company when the family moved to the United States. Johan grew up working on building projects with his father. At the age of 20 he began his own business building homes and specializing in millwork and staircase installations.

His background and expertise fit perfectly with his latest venture, Windsor chairmaking and custom furniture designs since 2003. Johan studied the art of chair making with Mike Dunbar at The Windsor Institute in Hampton, NH and with Troy Beall of the Annapolis School of Woodwork.

Most days he can be found working in his shop seen below at his Delaware County, Ohio home.

Johan Schmidt won the highest award as a traditional artisan in this year’s Directory of Traditional American Crafts, and his work is showcased in the 2023 August issue of Early American Life magazine. He ranks top in his field, according to a panel of national experts convened by the magazine. The experts—curators from such prestigious institutions as the National Trust, Museums of Colonial Williamsburg, Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts, Winterthur, Historic Deerfield, Old Sturbridge Village, Hancock Shaker Village, Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill, and the Frontier Culture Museum as well as antiques dealers, independent scholars, and professional instructors—selected the top craftspeople working with traditional tools and techniques for the magazine’s annual Directory of Traditional American Crafts. Schmidt’s handcraft showed mastery of the art form, heritage techniques, and workmanship, according to the judges.

Johan Schmidt has been listed in the Directory of Traditional American Crafts—Windsor Furniture category beginning in 2012 with a few years’ hiatus. Early American Life magazine has promoted traditional craftsmanship, providing its readership with comprehensive information on early American crafts, their history, their function, and the importance of their preservation. In addition, Early American Life is committed to promoting individual craftspeople and their artistry. As a Directory artisan, Schmidt ranks as one of the most talented. Be sure to visit Early American Life’s website.