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Let’s be with Focal Upright to learn more about how to weave a chair seat with rope.
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Chair caning, rush-seat weaving, and splint weave seats are terms that refer to specific designs and techniques used when weaving a chair.
This weaving process is known by many names: chair seat weaving, wicker, seat weaving to name just a few.
Most people simply lump it all together, including the woven seat pattern and material and the act of weaving, so it all becomes “chair-caning.”
The term “chair seat weaving” actually refers to many types of weaving techniques and patterns. designs are also included. Chair caning is only one type of chair seat weaving.
Chair seats are typically woven with a variety of pliable materials. These materials could include strand cane or cane webbing, natural rush, paper fiber rush, and rattan rush.
You’ll first need to get the rope. You have many options when it comes to making a strong weave chair. These include nylon rope, synthetic hemp rope, flax twine, and paracord.
Two lengths of approximately 60 m each are required. This can change depending on how large your chair is.
These are available in many craft shops online and off. If you want to make a professional finish on your woven chair seat, these are good to have.
This project has one problem: spacing the weave pattern evenly. It’s fairly easy. While most chairs will be the same in size, variations in rope usage will impact how much. Measure the four sides of your chair. The yellow and black chairs measured 10.5″ each, 13″ frontally, and 11″ back. They required 110 ft yellow cord and 165 feet of black cord. This is a good estimation for chairs of similar size. It’s possible to add more cord to the bottom so it is not necessary that you are exact.
Find out the number of turns you will be making on each side. To get a good count of how many turns you’ll be making on each side, wrap around the length of the front dowel, back dowel, and one side. This was done by wrapping around a few inches, then multiplying the length by 2. This didn’t work. It is worth taking the time to wrap each side quickly and count. For best results, wrap tightly and evenly.
Layout the yellow “front-to-back” pattern. You will need to use the number of turns you make on the front-to-back dowels to (a) take into account the width difference between front & back; (b) decide how many cords you’ll make in each group of 4.
Take into account the width difference. You must make more turns on the front. The center of the pattern will run straight back to front. To find the difference, subtract the number of turns on the back dowel from the ones on the front dowel. Divide the difference by 2.
Turns (front) + Turns (back). = Additional Turns to Be Made on Front
Extra turns / 2 = Additional Turns on the Left and Right Sides of Front Dowel
Example: The yellow chair had 85 turns on the front and 69 on the back. I needed to adjust for this 16-turn difference. Divided by 2, 8 additional turns were required on each side for the center of the chair to be straight.
85 – 69 = 16 more turns in the front than in the back
16 / 2 = 8 extra turnings on the left side of the front, and 8 on the right side.
Compare the front and back patterns of the first photo. To make 8 turns, I either added more turns to the front or removed turns from the back. You will notice that the back has no “spacer turns” between the 4 long strands of cords. I removed 6 turns from the front and added 2 more in the back to get my long strands running parallel to the front and back dowels. The length of the chair’s front and back should be the same, i.e. If the seat is square, you can skip this section.
Calculate the number of 4 strand groups. You should do this on paper with the turn counts that you have already determined. You will need to add spacer wraps at both the beginning and end of your pattern to ensure it is even. Make sure to add the extra turns at the front.
It is unlikely that a turn in the wrong place will be noticed, but it is best to avoid them. I was sitting in my yellow chair and didn’t notice that I had made a spacer turning in the wrong spot until I began writing this instructable. It’s difficult to see which of the extra turns should go all the way to your right. Don’t sweat little differences. A good life rule!
The side-to-side weave (black) is easier to plan because the dowels on the sides are the same length. Spacer turns are not necessary on the sides, so there is no gap in the weave. You can do what you want. Divide the turn count for each side dowel by the number of turns you have already determined. You can use extra turns to spacers at either the front or back.
Grab some cord, and let’s get started!
The first section of your rope chair is completed. Tie the rope to one side of the chair’s seat poles with a clove hitch knot. You don’t have to use the same side – just ensure that you slide the rope into the corner.
Next, place a wooden spacer perpendicularly to the knot across your seat. This will preserve some slack and make it easier to weave in reverse later.
Now it’s time to begin weaving. You can now wrap the rope around the entire width of the chair, wrapping it around the wood spacer and around the other seat pole until it reaches its starting point. This is the woven rope seat. It is important not to pull too tight. You should be able to lift it with your fingers, and it must be taut enough that it holds its shape.
Create five loops total. Wrap the rope around each end of the entire seat pole. Next, push the five loops together making sure they don’t cross.
Continue this process until you have covered the entire rope seat. The size of your chair will determine the number of sections required. When you reach the end of the rope, trim it leaving a 5–6 cm tail. Then use the crochet hook for tucking in any stray strands.
You need to prepare before you begin the next section of the weave.
The wooden spacer should be placed under the second set of five loops and then under each other set of five until you reach the opposite side. Turn the rope chair upside-down and place a second wooden spacing under each of the ‘five loops’ groups.
Diagram showing how to begin the second section of a rope seat.
Now you can start weaving in the reverse direction. You can now tie the second length of rope to the seat pole perpendicular to your first weave with a clove hitch.
To make a loop, slide the rope underneath the lifting loops. Wrap it around the entire width of the chair using the shuttle. Follow the same pattern as before. Make five loops, then wrap the rope around each of the seat poles individually.
You will need to complete the woven chair by moving across the seat and making the desired checkerboard pattern until you have covered the entire surface.
It can be difficult to weave the last few loops using the shuttle. At this point, grab the crochet hook. You can now tuck the final strands in, trim any loose strands using scissors, and then slowly pull the wooden spacers out, taking care not to catch them on the weave.
Once everything has been woven correctly, the rope chair should be strong enough to use.
1. Divide the round chair seat into eight equal parts. Use a pencil to mark each section of the outer frame. Each marked area should be drilled with a 1/4 inch hole.
2. Knot one end of the rope. Pass the rope through the hole. Make sure the knot is facing the inside of your seat frame. Wrap the rope around the seat frame until it reaches the hole on its opposite side. Pass the rope’s end through the hole until it pokes into the seat frame. The rope should be passed to the right. Pass the rope through the hole and then stretch it to the other hole. Keep moving towards the next hole on the left. Then, continue stretching to the opposite hole until the rope is taut and looks like a spoked bicycle wheel. Attach the rope to the inside of your seat frame.
3. Use an overhand knot to tie a second-length rope over the point where the spokes of all the previous ropes intersect. The knot should be placed so that it is not visible from the underside.
4. The rope should be tied to the first spoke of the frame, right next to their intersection. Wrap the rope around the spoke one time, then stretch it to reach the next spoke. Wrap the rope around each spoke, and then stretch it to reach the wooden seat frame. The ropes should be pulled tightly together towards the center of your seat so that there is no space between them.
5. Attach the weaving rope’s end to the spoke in the wood frame. Place the knot under the chair seat. Take off excess rope.
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