Sunday, August 15, 2010

Making an old chair new(er)

Some 25 years ago I rescued 4 pieces of furniture from a barn in Wyoming. One piece is stamped with "Old Hickory, Hendersonville, Indiana." It looks like the company still exists, though in Shelbyville. The original seats and backs were rotted away so I used some cotton clothesline rope to weave new seats. It was all I could think of at the time.
Not a great solution, but it's lasted all these years. For years I've been thinking I should learn to weave rush chair seats, but never got around to it. I've seen chairs with shaker tape seats, but hadn't really thought about it much. Several weeks ago I scored a huge piece of denim at the thrift shop. I'd been collecting old jeans, but haven't gotten around to weaving a rug out them yet. Yesterday i decided to use the denim and weave a new seat for one of the chairs. I cut the material into 3"/7.5cm wide strips.
Sewed the ends together, folded them in half, folded the edges to the middle and stitched this into a 3/4"/1.75cm wide "tape".
To add a little extra padding to the seat I mixed together oak shavings from my surface planer with some loom waste and stuffed it into a fabric envelope.
About half way across the seat as you're winding on the "warp" you tuck the pad in between the two layers of tape and continue to wind on the warp. I used only the large piece of denim for the warp and then used the old Jeans scraps for the weft.
Splices are done on the bottom of the seat. The use of a thimble is highly recommended!
With the seat complete I proceeded to cut off the cotton clothesline from the back. I love my old hunting knife.
I couldn't resist. I had a piece of heavy weight red cotton twill and decided to use it to jazz things up a bit. The front porch never looked so cheerful.
Next up, the love seat. If you were a fan of "Green Acres", you'll recognize this as same make of love seat that the Ziffels had on their front porch, Arnold courted Susy Hainey on that love seat.
I may need to take a few weeks off before I tackle that though.


Weavin' Wicker Woman said...

Great idea there, especially if you already have the denim and don't want to buy any new rattan reed or can't afford the hickory bark for the splint weaving! Your "splints" are almost exactly like the cotton or wool tape strips made years ago by the Shakers. Keep up the good work and please join us some time on the Seatweaving & Chair Caning Forum at and/or visit my website!

Lars said...

thanks weavin' wicker woman. It's nice to know there is a forum to turn to. I definitely will visit your site.

Yael said...

I don't believe it!!!!
It came out gorgeous!!! Two thumbs up to you! WOW!

Lars said...

Thanks Yael!