Monday, May 06, 2013

Restoring rush seating

There is nothing more beautiful than a newly rushed seat on a good quality or older frame. You can totally understand why it was used as far back as the ancient Egyptians. In addition to cane seating, Luis learnt to re-rush chairs and benches from the same lady who taught him bergere cane work in Holmfirth in the UK.

Rush is a difficult material to work and takes quite a bit of mastering before you get good results. Each batch of rush is different depending on the quality and whether it is sea water or fresh water rush. Each chair or bench varies and the stretchers are not always equal thereby making the meet in the middle problematic.

With Luis' blog , many people contact him to restore chair seats, not all enquiries result in work. To re-rush a seat is time consuming and decent rush is difficult to source. Each chair can take many many hours and therefore it isn't cheap. Rush work is also tough on the hands and fingers as you need to retain tension and twist to form the strands for weaving. The rush is worked wet/damp which adds to the problem.

This bench, recently completed for a house locally took a total of 30 hours to finish to this standard, not including the packing of the seat and drying.

We recently collected two chairs that need renovating with new seats. The chairs have old woodworm that seemed no longer active but we never take the risk and always treat immediately any pieces we bring to the workshop.

We wouldn't normally restore the frames of chairs and if active woodworm was present we would ask that the chairs be autoclaved first. In this case the chairs have old inactive woodworm so the treatment is just precautionary and the loose arm is a straight forward glue and clamp job which isn't a problem. We will post pictures of the finished chairs in a subsequent post.

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