I am repairing 2 Danish made stools for my friend's parents. The top
consists of this brownish twine woven across the rails. The twine consists
of three twisted strands that are in turn twisted together to form a cord
that looks a lot like strips of brown grocery paper twisted together. Is
anyone familiar with this type of material? If I can ID it maybe I can
order some replacement for the repair. Thanks for any help.
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Yes, it's very common.
Your seat sounds like a rush seat (NB - not "cane"). The best rushes
to do this are still grown (mine come from Holland) but they're
surprisingly expensive and they also only grow in short lengths. So
working a rush seat is as much about continually working new rushes
into the cord as it is about twisting this cord onto the chair frame.
So to solve both problems, much rush chair work is done with this
paper rush. It comes on long reels of a constant size, so it's far
easier to work with than real rush. Another option is "seagrass". This
is hard wearing (also used for flooring) and easier to work with than
rush, but a "natural" product unlike the paper cord.
You need to find a supplier of chair caning materials and a simple
book on the technique. I can't really suggest one for Hawaii or the
USA though (I'm in the UK). You might find it through a wholesale
upholstery supplier, but probably not - the cane and rush trade seems
quite distinct from the stuffed fabric trade. I get mine from "The
Cane Workshop" in Somerset
It's not hard to do, and doesn't even take that long. Tools are pretty
simple too, although a good bench vice to hold the chair while you
work on it will do wonders for your back - otherwise rig up a low
platform (couple of stacked pallets) and stand the chair on that.
Don't bend over the chair at floor height.
We used to do the Real McCoy with the rush in the bathtub to soak and a
little clorox added if we left it too long. At one time the directions
suggested slipping cardboard between the top and bottom layers (sides and
front - maybe and back - maybe?) but we used thin wood - go through all
that and put cardboard inside? Geesh.
We also varnished the competed seat I don't know if you'd do that with the
I think the only problem was if you didn't get the rush or what ever you
used packed in tightly enough - then you'd get the 4 sections slipping away
from the middle (with weight after it had been sat on a bit) and you could
see through the chair seat.
This is called "fiber rush" and you can get it from lots of suppliers.
The best deal I found was at Chair Seat Weaving, link below:
The kit to do one chair seat is $12.90 plus shipping, what you could
do is get a kit and another lot of rush for $8.49, that will give you
enough to do 2 chairs. You want to measure the diameter of the rush so
you will know what size to order.
After reweaving the chair seats, you will want to put a coat of
varnish or polyurethane top and bottom to help protect and strengthen
the seat. I have a 100-yr-old ladder back chair I'm going to reweave
this winter (when it's too cold to be in the shop!) -- the seat
presently on it is fiber rush, and it's held up well. It would have
held up better if a new coat of varnish had been put on it
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