Rustic Chairs
Wood/Bending/Design | Joining/Bark Bottoms/Stripping | Weaving | The Red Chair | Rush Seat | Related Videos
The Woodwright's Workbook: Further Exploration in Traditional Woodcraft By Roy Underhill

Weaving

The bottom warped and the weave begun, Four alternating starts create the herringbone pattern.The bottom warped and the weave begun, Four alternating starts create the herringbone pattern.
When one strip runs out, just tie in another.When one strip runs out, just tie in another.
The finished bark bottom. Different chair—same pattern.The finished bark bottom. Different chair—same pattern.

Bark seat weaving begins with warping the chair, that is, wrapping the initial course of strips in one direction prior to the crosswise interlacing. Splits of white oak and ash wood are woven the same way, but only bark Is pliant enough to tie in a knot. This makes things easier right away, because the first thing you do is taper down one end of the first strip and tie it around one of the back stretchers. Bring it around under the front stretcher and loop back and around, pulling tight as you go around and around. When a strip runs out, trim down its end and that of the next piece and knot them together. Keep all of the knots on the underside. Be sure to keep die outside of the bark facing up and out. When the bark dries, it will crown and make a much more comfortable and attractive seat Aan the smoother-surfaced but down-cupping inside. It all works out in the end.

When you have wrapped the chair from front to back (or side to side), turn under and around one of the back posts and start the weave. The most common weave for strip work is the herringbone. This weave develops a regular pattern by getting out of step with itself. Each strip goes over two and under two, but starts its journey across the seat in one of four ways. The first strip starts under two, the second under one, the third over two, and the fourth over one. Repeat this sequence all the way across the chair seat and tuck the final end into the weave on the underside. Long diagonals on a seat for a century will be your reward.

 

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"The Woodwright's Workbook: Further Exploration in Traditional Woodcraft" By Roy Underhill
© 2012 The University of North Carolina Press

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