Sunday, May 9, 2010

Rush Seat Makeover Tutorial


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.





Please visit my Link Party Directory to see a list of all the great parties I am linking up to this week!

31 comments:

Its So Very Cheri said...

Adorable--great tutorial. I came over to try and enter my post but it isn't up yet and we are leaving for Sea World in a few hours. I will leave my post url in this comment and if you can enter it great, if not I understand.
http://itssoverycheri.com/2010/05/09/its-so-very-creative-9/
Thanks
Cheri

concretenprimroses said...

Wonderful. Now maybe I'll dare to do something with the rocking chair I found in the attic of my garage. Someone had put a seat on it years ago but it must have been "green" because it shrank and broke one of the side pieces. I'll fix it and try it with the grass you used, if I can find it.
Kathy

Life in Rehab said...

Wow, that's just the coolest! And my best friend did just drag home a chair with no seat for me...

Angie @ The Country Chic Cottage said...

WOW!! I would love to be able to do this!!

Kaysi said...

Wow that is awesome! It looks so great too!

JHill said...

This is a great tutorial!

Thanks for linking up to the Mad Skills Party!

Ms. Bake-it said...

It looks fabulous! You made it look easier than I thought it would be. I have a chair I might practice on.

Thank you for the tutorial!

~ Tracy

Goings on at the Glenn's said...

I would love to see a tutorial on how to weave that. It looks like something I would like to try.

{All Thingz Related} said...

I've always wanted to know how to do this! I think I'd love it!
{rebekah}

{All Thingz Related} said...

Huh...always wondered how to do that! Thanks for sharing! :)
~Bridgette

Tammy@ Not Just Paper and Glue said...

This is something that I will not attempt and just admire! That weaving is gorgeous!

Tammy@ Not Just Paper and Glue said...

This is something that I will not attempt and just admire! That weaving is gorgeous!

Tammy@ Not Just Paper and Glue said...

This is something that I will not attempt and just admire! That weaving is gorgeous!

Queen of Dreamsz said...

Hi Rory,

Wow!! I love the chair and even more so knowing that you restored it with the age old technique...lovely work.♥

I'm visiting for Three or More Tuesday.

I'd love for you to drop in for a visit when
have a free moment.

Have a wonderful day...

Stephanie ♥

shaleza said...

I actually have a chair seat that needs to be re-woven - very inspiring tutorial! I'm going to have to do some research on how to actually do the weave. Thanks!

Sachiko said...

Oh my gosh! This is such a great turorial! I came across chairs like this several weeks ago. Now I am kicking myself for not buying them!

Lori said...

The chair is wonderful.

Thanks for joining Get Your Craft on Thursday at Life As Lori... Please join me next week for another great party!

Pat Harris said...

Great mini tutorial. Would it be possible for you to do an entry with more details. I would love to learn to do this. I've tried caneing. It's not too hard. But this is beautiful and would love to have the know how. Thanks,Pat.

MessyMissy said...

I've got an old rocking chair in need of a good rush makeover. :-) Thanks for the inspiration!!!!

L ~DIY Diva~ said...

Thanks for linking up. Hope to see your fabulous DIY again at Make My style Mondays.

~L~

Kim said...

You did a fabulous job. I love those old-timey artisan projects, too.

Lanie Ree said...

Wow, great tutorial. It never even occurred to me that this was something you could do yourself. I love it.

Thanks for linking this up to A Little Creative Therapy with Life in the Pitts.

Carolyn @ My Backyard Eden said...

Now that is just amazing! How did you ever learn to do that? I have a great old caned chair that needs to be redone. I'd love to know how to do that!

Thanks for sharing at My Backyard Eden!

Tricia Rose said...

That is absolutely professional - love it! It is such a pleasure to see something done so well.

Laura Ingalls Gunn said...

Wow! Such a clever and creative girl. My heart is going pitty pat. I am duly impressed.

Jill said...

So Impressive!! Great job, something I never thought to try....now I'll be on a look-out for a chair to weave! Thanks for the inspiration!

simplydesigning.blogspot.com said...

What a great skill you have!! You are so talented!

Thanks for linking up!

Carolyn said...

Wow! What an amazing skill you have! Love it!

Stephanie Lynn said...

Love the seat - fantastic job. I would have never thought to take on this project but you make it seem pretty simple. Great info! Thanks so much for joining the Sunday Showcase. I greatly appreciate it! Hope you are enjoying your week. ~ Stephanie Lynn

michelle@somedaycrafts said...

Oh my goodness!!! That turned out fabulous!! Thanks for linking up!!

creativejewishmom.com said...

thanks soooo much, I actually have some chairs that need this (in the meantime they have an upholstered wooded plate sitting where the rush should be) now if I can just figure out where to get the rush, do you have a mail order source? thanks!
Looking forward to seeing what else you've been up to on Craft schooling Sunday!