Friday, May 20, 2011

A Convincing Rush Seat Alternative

I was recently hired to re-rush a delightful little folding chair. The main issue with rush seating today is that almost everyone that does it only uses what is called "fibre rush". Fibre rush is a twisted paper product. It is extremely uniform in twist and comes in many different colors. It is the opinion of most antiquarians that this product does not belong on genuine antiques, seeing as it is too uniform and not... well... real rush. With these folks I am in hearty agreement.

Upon researching available materials, I discovered that no one supplies natural dried cattail for traditional rush seating anymore. I was told to buy rubber waders and crawl into the swamp myself. But... before I went that far, I found an alternative: pre-twisted seagrass. This seagrass is compellingly similar to the old cattail seats. (Naturally, since both are seagrasses) It comes pre-twisted onto two and a quarter pound coils. In a conversation with Mike Frank from Frank's Caning, he highly recommended this product to me. Intrigued, I ordered some.

I was quite pleased with the material when it arrived. It looks good. Much, much more convincing than paper. The project went together well and I really enjoyed working with it. I am excited about trying out different size twists of this material. (I used 7/32" on this chair.)

What do you think? Does it satisfy any other persnickety antiquarians out there? For ordering info, visit here > Frank's Caning. I think it might be worth your trying it out.


  1. Nice Work, Joshua--very impressed with your Blog and your contributions and questions on GROOP. See you at Don Camp 2011??

    WEB in Atlanta

  2. Thanks, Brian. It's a joy to share what I do all day alone in my shop.
    oh and... Yes! I'll see ya at Groopstock!

  3. It looks very elegant and comfortable, thanks.

  4. Interesting choice of material. I think I'll have this in my kitchen if I ever get the chance to buy it.

  5. J,
    Yes, I did. The coating had severe adhesion issues and the frame was in need of re-gluing of the joinery. It was a complete overhaul on the chair.
    Thanks for stopping by! Keep on reading and enjoy!

  6. Did you use two different shades of Fibre rush? It looks like the other one has a more earthy tone.

  7. Natural rush starts out green and fades over a year's time to it mellow straw color. There is no way to shortcut this process. I visited this client's house recently and the seat is looking much mellower. Thanks for reading, friend.

  8. I'd love to get this look for office furniture nyc. That is so creative!