Tuesday Tips–“Squaring up” Paper Rush Seats

Tuesday Tip of the Day—The first step in weaving paper rush seats is to fill in the side rail gussets or “squaring up” a trapezoidal seat. You are probably wondering why you’d need to square up the chair seat in the first place, right? Well, that’s a relatively easy answer.

Most chairs are designed to be wider in the front than in the back, called a trapezoid, to make sitting in them as comfortable as possible.

In the rush seat weaving pattern or design, the weaver must take a continuous strand of rush around each of the four corners of the chair seat, starting at the outer edge and ending up in the middle.

If the seat is square, weaving it is no problem because all sides are equal in length. But when weaving a trapezoidal seat, the front rail is longer than the back rail and must be accounted for.

Paper rush seat weaving on ladderback chair
Cathryn Peters weaving a paper rush chair seat

To “square up” the trapezoidal rush seat or make both the front rail and the back rail the same length, you need to fill in the side rail gussets first. To do that, you’ll need to measure the back rail and the front rail.

Determine just how much longer the front rail is from the back and measure out from each of the corners at the front rail. Now you’ll need to fill in those corner gussets with short lengths of rush until the front rail is the same width as the back rail, leaving you a square seat to weave around each corner.

There are many methods used to “square up” the seat of a trapezoidal (wider in the front than in the back) chair seat. In this post, I’ll be showing you two ways of doing it.

FURTHER READING: What’s the fourth way to start a paper rush seat?

The first method, a tried-and-true old way of attaching the short strands needed to “square up” the seat, was to nail the ends of the paper rush to the inside left and right side rails using upholstery tacks.

This solution worked well for me for many years and in most cases, but sometimes, all those tacks and nails damaged the side rails. This was especially true if the rails were round dowels and/or narrow or small in diameter.

Using tacks to attach short rows of paper rush in the gussets to "square up" the seat.
“Squaring Up” a paper rush seat using tacks

Many years into my profession, I ran across another way to attach those rush strands to the side rails that worked really, really slick!

Attach the pre-measured paper rush strands to the side rails using a cable tie instead of tacks, which might damage the rails! Fold the rush strands over in half and then attach the cable tie in the middle of the fold to the left-side rail.

Using this method, the rails are not damaged, and by using several rush strands held by the cable tie, the weaving can be done easily and rapidly.

This method of "squaring up" uses cable ties for securing the rush to the side rails.
Instead of tacks, use cable ties for gussets

Weave each strand in succession, one at a time. When you get to the end of a strand, clip it to the right side rail using a spring clamp!

attach paper rush spring clamps
Attach the ends of paper rush strands to the side rail using spring clamps

Once you have finished filling in the gussets or “squaring up” the rush chair seat, making the front rail the same length as the back rail, you can begin weaving around all four corners until you finish weaving the chair seat.

weaving rush around four corners
Begin weaving around all four corners.

Have you tried using this terrific time and chair-saver, using cable ties to square up a rush seat, Tuesday Tip of the Day, yet? Once you do, you’ll love it!

rush weaving around all four corners
Rush weaving around all four corners after squaring up
paper rush chair seat
Completed paper rush chair seat

Leave a comment below and let us know what tips you use for “squaring up” those paper rush gussets. Happy Weaving! Enjoy!

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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4 thoughts on “Tuesday Tips–“Squaring up” Paper Rush Seats”

    1. Shelly,

      If you will look at the two pictures showing the rush chair seat in progress and look on the right side, you will see that those paper fibre ends in the gussets are held on with a spring clamp. That way, it’s easy to add the remaining ends when you fill in the gussets to “square up” the rush chair seat. Sorry you missed that.

    1. Thank you Susan for posting your Leco Plastics website link here, great to know where we can get such cool supplies as the cable or zip ties in mass quantities!

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