Rush cording is used for making the seats of some country chairs. Natural rush is available from specialist sources and come in different shades depending where it cames from, but is not a very common material.
Substitute materials, made from corded paper or twisted fibre, are readily available. All are sold by weight. You would need approximately 1 to 2kg (2 to 5 lbs) to do a chair seat. To make the natural rush fibre more pliable and easier to weave, dampen it before starting. Have a bucket of warm water handy and soak them for about 5 minutes or sray them with water before weaving. Wrap them in a damp cloth to keep them moist. If using a substitute fibre dunk them in the water for about 10 to 20 seconds, any longer and they will become too wet to use.
The rush is made into an even cord by taking two or three lengths and twisting them together, always in a clockwise direction. This is only necessary for the top of the seat; when placed underneath, the rush is not twisted. Force air from the rushes by quickly running the fingers down the fibre, squeezing the air out. When joining a new length of cord, simply knot the ends over the last ones under the seat
No 1 Weaving a tapered frame. To fill the front corners of chairs that are wider at the front than the back, start by tying the end of the first cord to the left-hand side rail with string. Take the cord forward over and under the front rail, then up and over the side rail . Keeping the tension on the cord, pass it across to the opposite side rail. Take the cord over and under the rail, then over and under the front seat rail, and tie the end to the inside of the side rail.
No.2 Filling the corners. Continue tie and wrap separate cords in this way, until the space between them at the front is the same as the length of the back rail. If you are using natural rush, knot lengths together and twist them into a cord. Note: Twist artificial cord as you work, to prevent unwinding.
No.3 Filling the seat. Tie the end of a new length of cord to the left-hand side of the rail. Wrap it around the front of the rail as before, but continue over and under the back rail. Pass it up and over the right hand rail- hand side, then across and over the opposite rail. Take it over and under the back rail,then forward and over the front rail. Fill the frame in this way, adding more cord when needed.
No. 4 Packing the corners. When about 7 or 8 rows are completed, temporarily tie off the working cord, then squeeze the cords woven together and regulate the weave using a wooden spoon or better still get a block of wood and tap the weave together with a hammer.
Turning the chair over, cut off any loose ends under the seat. Pack pieces of off cuts of rush or corugated card board between the top and bottom cords, to help support the seat.
No.5 Finishing off the seat. Continue weaving and packing the remainder of the seat. If the seat is wider than it is deep, the sides will be filled before the front and back rails. In this case, weave the cord in a figure-of-eight from front to back. Use a lever ( ie. screwdriver or similiar ) to help squeeze the last cords into place.
Finally tie off the cord to the underside of the seat, trim, and tuck in.
To get rush seat materials go to www.formerglory.co.uk
For Rush seat restoration services go to
Cane and Rush Restoration Services
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