Paper Rush Seat Weaving Tip-How to start

Steps to begin weaving paper rush seat

We’ve had some lively discussions over the years on the SeatWeaving & Chair Caning Forum–The Chair Caner’s Community Hub™ with several members sharing and giving a paper rush seat weaving tip.

The latest paper rush seat weaving tips thread from March 2013, deals with various methods of starting the gusset strands or short filler strands on a trapezoidal (wider in the front than in the back) chair seat.

After you’ve measured the front and back rails to decide how many strands you need in the front gussets or pockets to “square up” the seat, then the next step is to decide how to attach the strands to the rails.

In the past, the usual method to attach the strands to the rails was to nail or tack each individual strand to the inside left and right rails, both at the beginning and ending of the strands.

square up paper rush seat
“Squaring Up” a paper rush seat using tacks

This results in damage to the wooden rails, especially if the seat has been replaced several times. The more replacement seats, the more nails or tacks are pounded into the rails.

Many times during my 35+ years in the chair seat weaving profession, I’ve run across a simple, better method. With this method, you fold each strand in half and attach the rush at the fold, to the rail with only one tack or nail.

rush-nailed-double-strands
Doubled paper rush beginning gusset strands

Of course, even with this doubling up method, you still have to end each strand on the right side rail with an individual upholstery tack. So even this way is not preventing nail holes, only reducing the quantity of them.

I’ve practiced this paper rush seat weaving tip for many years, but then when zip ties or cable ties became so popular, I switched techniques again.

rush-cable-ties-gussets
Beginning gussets–Fold paper rush, attach at rails with cable ties.

Using cable ties or zip ties when you attach the gusset strands or short rows to “square up” your trapezoidal rush seats, results in no nail holes at all. Isn’t that wonderful?

Then on the right side where you end the strands, just use a cable tie again or use a spring clamp to hold in place.

rush-spring-clamp-gussets
Use a spring clamp or another cable tie to hold end gusset strands.

Then eventually, after the other rows of weaving are holding in all the beginning and ending strands, you can remove the cable ties and the spring clamps. Friction will keep all the strands in place and they won’t pull out.

paper-rush-gussets-ends
Other weaving holding paper rush gusset ends

If you’d like, you can leave the cable tie at the beginning on as I’ve done in the photo below, or you can snip it off after the other weaving is holding those strands in place.

paper-rush-begin-stuffing

Well, hope you find this paper rush seat weaving tip helpful and will use it to speed up and improve your seat weaving skills.

paper rush chair seat
Paper fibre rush chair seat complete, before final finish treatment

And be sure to join all the discussion on this topic and more on the Free Seatweaving & Chair Caning Forum–The Chair Caner’s Community Hub™.

Until next time…

4 thoughts on “Paper Rush Seat Weaving Tip-How to start”

  1. Cathryn, how do you work out how many strands you need to square up the seat? I’m about to tackle one that is 14.5 inches / 37 cm wide at the back and 19.5 inches / 50 cm wide at the front. And what happens if you don’t do this at all? … Or get the amount wrong?

    1. Hi Mike,

      Sorry about this blog post, I will need to rewrite it to better explain the steps in squaring up the seat. First, measure both the front rail and the back rail as you have already done. Then subtract those two measurements. This will give you the difference between the two rails. Next, take that difference and divide it in half. That final number will be the amount you count out from each front leg post to the center, where you make your marks.

      So in your case you would subtract 14.5″ from 19.5″ = 5″ then 5″ divided by 2 = 2.5″. So on the front rail, measure out 2.5″ from the corner posts on each side and make a mark. That length on the front rail in the center should now be the same as the measurement of the back rail, thereby “squaring up” the seat.

      Once you have the seat squared up you need to fill in the gussets. Gussets are the triangles between the front leg corner posts and your marks, which will be filled in with short lengths of paper rush. Those short rows only go from side rail to side rail, woven only around the front rail and the front side rails. They do not go around all four corner posts.

      If the gussets are not filled in first, the back rail will fill in way before the front, which will leave a big gapping area in the front rail that can’t be finished. Hope that helps to clear things up.

  2. I collected a big bunch of cattail rush a couple of years ago and stored it up in my garage attic. Do you think it is still usable for a project? Can I bring it down, wet it, and wrap it in plastic for several hours and then use it. Or am I wasting my time!!! Thanks ! Tom (member of Seatweaver’s Guild)

    1. Hi Tom,

      Nice to hear you gathered your own cattails but as far as using those old cattails, it depends entirely on how they were stored. Did you follow my instructions as described on the How-to Process Cattail Leaves page? If they were bundled up and covered with either corrugated cardboard or newspapers and stacked neatly and are not bleached out by the sun, then they might be usable. But if just thrown up into the rafters or something and not protected they might be kinda iffy.

      You could weave the seat and decide during the process whether or not they are usable. Just keep in mind that you might need to tear the seat out and reweave with better materials. Use this session as a learning project to perfect your skills! Good luck and keep in touch, let me know how they work out for you!

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