Workman of the Windsor, England region whose job it was to manufacture the legs and stretchers of a Windsor chair out of beech wood. The work was typically done using green wood and a lathe constructed on site, and was accomplished where the trees were located rather than in a workshop of fixed location.

Origin – uncertain, but not to be confused with “botch” meaning badly done work

Benny was a bodger
Who worked, sometimes with Roger.
Their output of chair legs, prodigious,
Rest on Sundays, they were religious.
They also sold wood shavings
To augment their life savings.
They did their craft with beech,
Which they traveled far to reach,
And did their work in place
With impressive speed and grace.
Their profession, now, is gone.
And is rarely thought upon.


There are many professions which no longer exist. Automation and mass manufacturing have replaced individual crafts. Still, there are people who persist in trying to put past professional skills to use in modern times. There’s a TV program called “The Woodwright’s Shop” starring Roy Underhill. It ran on PBS for many years and tried to demonstrate skills like those of a bodger. Underhill manufactured more than one treadle lathe similar to those used by bodgers during the show’s run.

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