Using fiber rush

I'm making a couple of chairs and I want to use fiber rush as a decorative item, not full caning. The design of the chair has an octagonal frame between the read upper sections which forms the back of the chair. I want to take the rush and form an hourglass design by wrapping the top and bottom horizontal sides of the octagon and then wrapping the middle to create the hourglass. I got the fiber rush from Rockler and it seems kind of stiff.
Should it be moistened or soaked before use?
Can I apply a finish over it - poly, shellac, etc.
It just seems that using it as it is, I'll not be able to pull it tight enough to stay on the wood.
Any suggestions?
Thanx,
Vic
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On Saturday, March 23, 2013 6:37:15 PM UTC-6, Vic Baron wrote:

Do you have written instructions or know the technique for squaring a recta ngle or, in your case, squaring an octagon, before proceding with the hourg lass part of the design? I highly suspect you may weave some, then have to disassemble it and start over (several times?), in order to get the squari ng correct, before you actually start weaving the hourglass design. I have never done this on an octagon frame and I don't know of anyone who has. M y books don't have an example of it and I can't find any examples on the in ternet, either.
Your FIBER rush is twisted paper.... or did Rockler possibly sell you natur al rush? Some folks mis-identify what they have *and some unknowing sales people sell one, thinking they have sold the other, so I have to ask, are y ou sure your salesman sold you Fiber rush, and not natural rush.
Fiber rush: If it's really stiff, you might steam it a LITTLE, to soften it a tad. You certainly don't want to wet it, as you would with cane (hot wa ter). Natural rush can more readily be moistened. I like to slowly moiste n it, with steam, ONLY when it's REALLY stiff. *Experience helps identify what's "really stiff".
I would suppose you would need to square (fill in) the odd corners (not inv olved/not referenced in the weaving of the hourglass, before you can weave the hourglass design, via the corners that will be used in creating the des ign, i.e., the reference corners. After thinking about it, I suppose one w ould fill-in the odd corners, as the front corners would be filled in on a chair whose front span is wider than the back span.

enough to stay on the wood.
With the odd shape of your frame, your rush will have a tendency to slide a long the frame, as you tighten it. You'll need to roughen or slightly notc h the sides/frames, to prevent the rush from sliding. When you start, you' ll tack/nail the end of the rush to the inside of the chair frame, to ancho r it. During the weaving, it's good/recommended to have a spring clamp, ha ndy, to hold the rush in place, at times, as you work other areas or do som e wrapping, etc.... It's good to have a third hand, per se. Often times, in my weaving, I'll make several wrappings, then go back and tighten things up, clamp it, there, then continue with several more wrappings, etc. It's good to have that third hand, to hold the rush in place, when tying a new rush onto the end of the previous one, also.
*On chair seats: You'll have two layers of weave, upper and lower (topside the seat and unde r neath the seat). In between the layers will be padding, in essence, seat padding. It gives the seat a little body, to itself. Without padding, th e seat will look "lacking" (something). It'll look "not quite right", as ru sh/hourglass seats go. I would think your chair's back might need a little padding, or it may look a little "lacking",so consider putting padding bet ween the layers.
Shellac is used on much/most of any weaving of this kind. Easily toned to match or coordinate with any chair color or upholstery, where applicable. Do a test application on some scrap rush. The wet look, with untoned shell ac, may be dark enough. If not, tone it.
I would recommend you call or go to your local library and see if they have the book "The Caner's Handbook".... I''ll bet they have it. Get it. It e xplains the rush weaving process (and most other weavings) in excellent det ail. Rockler will sell you the book for $20. http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?page 10 The book was written fairly long ago, but is considered the bible of weavin g.
Sonny
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On Saturday, March 23, 2013 6:37:15 PM UTC-6, Vic Baron wrote:

I'm really thinking Rockler may have mistakenly sent you natural rush (much more expensive), if it's exceedingly stiff.
Sonny
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On 3/23/2013 7:37 PM, Vic Baron wrote:

Ok, I have had Rush chairs and I have replaced cane on chairs too.
Does what you have look like thin strips of bamboo or twisted paper.
The bamboo cane should be soaked, and it will become more limp. As it dries it will stiffen and shrink.
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Twisted paper.
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On 3/24/2013 11:23 AM, Vic Baron wrote:

You are on your own on that, there are however many books on the use of the material.
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http://www.leevalley.com/en/wood/page.aspx?pW660&cat=1,250,43298
On the page there's a link to instructions, down, beside the catalogue number.
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