Rush seat weaving is a pretty neat skill to have on your resume. It is one of those things that as a professional craftsman, I have used to make some extra money over the years. Rush weaving is somewhat of a lost art and I get a lot of enjoyment from doing it.
Here is a picture of an antique chair that many people would have given up on and left on the curb. It was brought to me by one of my customers, and she asked if I could do something with it. "Of course!", I said.
There are a number of different materials used to weave this kind of seat. The material usually used is a "paper fiber" man made rush. Other materials include natural rush, danish cord, cane, and Pakistan grass. I have even seen yarn used.
For this project I decided to use Pakistan grass. It is sort of a "hempy" rope-like material, that is hand twisted. Each piece of twisted grass rope is a different diameter, so it makes for an interesting sort of random looking weave when it's done.
You don't need much in the way of tools to weave a seat like this. A couple of spring clamps are helpful to hold things in place as you weave and tie off ends.
You will also need a utility knife, a bottle of yellow carpenter's glue, some carpet tacks, and a regular claw hammer.
Some types of these seats are padded with cardboard. For this one, I used leftover scraps of loosely knotted Pakistan grass.
I like to use a thinned out shellac as a finish on most of my woven chair seats. I usually dilute the shellac with denatured alcohol and start with a mixture of about a 1 to 1 ratio. Amber shellac is my favorite. It gives the grass a sort of honey colored look. It will take 2 or 3 coats.
Here is the completed chair. You can sometimes find chairs like this around for only a few dollars, that are in need of a new seat. Once you learn to weave one, you can take advantage of some deals out there.
Hope you enjoyed this little mini-tutorial. Please ask questions if you need help.
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