What’s the 4th Way to Start a Paper Rush Seat?

Let’s review the various ways to begin “squaring up” a trapezoidal seat before I show you the fourth method to start a paper rush seat, OK?

#1–Standard Way-Use Upholstery Tacks

The most common way to start a paper rush seat is to use galvanized upholstery tacks to secure short gusset strands of rush to the inside rails.

Strands start on the inside left rail with a tack inserted through the end of the rush, and then they each get a tack at the end of the strand on the right inside rail.

This method can severely damage the chair rails, especially after many replaced seats if every weaver uses it, nailing in each strand.

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Paper rush gussets tacked to side rail
Paper rush “short row” gussets tacked to rails, both beginning and ending strands

#2–Alternative Start Using Cable Ties

Another way to start the paper rush strands in the gussets is to secure them individually to the side rails using nylon cable ties.

If you can find the cable ties in a clear or opaque color, it would be best to use those instead of black.

But since I only had the black ties in my shop at the time, I used what I had. However, I was careful to make sure the black ties were well covered so they didn’t show through the strands of rush on the sides.

Paper rush start using cable ties only
Paper rush start using cable ties only on both side rails

#3–Alternative Start Using Cable Ties on Left Rail Only

This third way of starting the paper rush strands in the gussets uses nylon cable ties only on the left rail.

All the short gusset strands are doubled and folded over so one cable tie secures all the strands. A spring clamp holds the ends on the right rail until later on when the clamp can be removed.

Then the tension of the horizontal woven strands will keep the end strands in place without the spring clamp.

Paper rush weaving start using cable ties
Rush start using cable ties only at the beginning of the strands. Spring clamp holds the ends

#4–Alternative Start Using the “No-Damage-Side-Rails” Technique

As promised, here’s the fourth and final (until I discover another) way to start weaving the gussets strands of a paper fibre rush chair seat.

All these processes and steps are called, “squaring up the seat,” which is what you have to do to a trapezoidal seat before you can weave around all four corners evenly.

first paper rush strand using no-damage-rails technique

Joining paper rush strand using “no-damage-rails” hog ring technique

I’ve coined the phrase “no-damage-side-rails” for this technique because there’s no need to use tacks or anything else on the rails to start the paper rush gusset weaving.

Steps for the 4th Way to Start a Paper Rush Seat

Use this terrific starting method with hog ring clips and hog ring pliers on any antique chair or chairs with rails already peppered with tack and nail holes that you don’t want to damage further.

paper rush hog ring pliers and clips
Hog ring pliers and clips for joining paper rush strands

  • Just tie a bit of jute or string in a circle around the back rail, one on each side
  • Measure the length of rush needed to go around the two front rails and cut to length
  • Start on left side by looping the rush end over string, pull down a bit and attach end to weaving strand with hog ring
  • Weave rush around both corners in the pattern sequence
  • Secure end on the right the same way as you did on the left
  • Take the folded-over rush strand through the jute circle and then attach the end to the weaver strand using the hog rings
  • Continue in this manner until side gussets are filled and front and back rails are equal measurements

paper rush start "no-damage side rails"
Jute and hog ring application

Left rail ending paper rush weaving using the "No-damage side rail" technique
Left rail ending paper rush weaving using the “No-damage side rail” technique
First paper rush strand completed using no-damage-rails technique
The first paper rush strand woven using “no-damage-rails” technique

Then too, you can double the length of the strands, looping the centers through the jute circle. Then you won’t need the hog rings on the left, only on the right to secure the ends.

All the bulkiness of the starts and ends will be absorbed within the gussets and will be covered up by the weaving throughout the remaining part of the seat.

Stuff and pad as usual with cardboard triangles in the gussets both on the top and bottom of the seat.

Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed this little series on how to start a paper fibre rush chair seat. Do you have any alternative ways you’d like to share with us? Please leave a comment below!

What are your thoughts about this blog post?

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~~Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much ~~

Happy Weaving, until next time!

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5 thoughts on “What’s the 4th Way to Start a Paper Rush Seat?”

  1. I have never done a rush chair and I have an antique prayer chair with a badly broken seat that I removed. The back has two rails not one and there are no tack marks on the side rails. When I weave, do I put the rush around both back rails at the same time or is there another way to weave it? I want to be sure I know what I am doing before I start. Please Help

    1. Hi Nancy,

      Sorry, but I’m not sure what you are asking and am not able to visualize the situation, would have to see it to come up with a solution for you. When you took the seat off, did you take pictures of it that you can use as a method to find out how the previous weaver treated those back rails? If it’s possible, I think you might try weaving a different chair as your first rather than weaving this prayer chair. It’s best for a beginner to start with a very easy chair so you don’t get frustrated. If you want to have someone else weave this chair seat, take a look at the National Furniture Repair Directory™ to find someone near you that can do it. Sorry I couldn’t be of more help.

  2. Peerless rattan co.told me to contact you in regards to a chair I purchased. It has arms that he said are blind caned. He told me u are the only one he knows that has attempted that task. I am willing to give it the old college try. Just need a few pointers. I was going t take one of your classes in southern Indiana due to illness couldn’t make it

  3. Hi Cathryn! You can also use masking tape (not painter’s tape!) to hold the ends as you “square” rush seats to begin them. The tape is removed as the rush is continued. I’ve used this method for many years and it works fine. No fuss, no muss, and everything holds together well without issues.

    1. Oh sure Mical, I use masking tape or strapping tape on my binder cane chairs and footstools too, but never thought of it for rush! See, you can always learn something new. Thanks for taking time to leave a comment.

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