Shaker Stool 128 Mod-Part 3-Complete

I spent a few days working on the milk paint finish of that I had started at the end of my last post.  I’m going to hold off on the details of the process for now.  I’ve been asked by Salko Safic to write an article for an upcoming issue of his new, online, hand tool centric, magazine, “Handwork“.  After reading through the first issue, I’m pretty sure I’m in way over my head, but I’m going to give it my best effort.  So if your interested in my process, keep an eye out for next issue of “Handwork”.  At any rate, the finish on the stool is almost complete, but before I complete the finish, I need to weave the seat.

The seat weaving is a repeat of the fibre rush seats that I put on my last two stools.  I can use the practice!  Actually the weaving process is starting to grow on me as I gain a little experience with it.  Someone commented recently that the process has a meditative quality and I’m inclined to agree.

There are few things that I have picked up along the way.  First,  it is recommended that you dip your working bundle of fibre rush (twisted paper) into water for a few seconds before beginning the weaving process.  I’m sure that this varies by brand, but for the particular product that I have, less time in the water is better.  I have found the bundle much more manageable if I simply dink it in water and immediately bring it back out.  Shaking out any excess water.

I’ve also changed how I join in a new working bundle of rush.  Most sources recommend the use of a square knot.  Obviously this works and it is easy and quick to do.  The drawback is that the square knot is bulky.  Most of these knot will be hidden by the weave or only show on the bottom, but the bulky knot bothers me.  One resource I have recommends a simple seizing to join in a new working bundle.  I gave this a go using waxed sail twine and like the result much better.  The seizing is much less bulky and only takes a minute or so to tie. Technically I joined these with a “common whipping“, there are no frapping turns, but it is more than strong enough for the application.

A comparison of the two methods.

Another lesson learned is to, after every few wraps, use a block of wood to compress the wraps so that they remain parallel with the rungs.  The natural tendency of the weaving process is that the turns around the rungs grow wider than the crossings in the center.  A little persuasion brings everything back into alignment.

Finally, internalize the mantra, “work the corners, work the corners“.  Every turn of the cord that generates the internal corners must be neat.  Crisp tight corners are what gives the finished product a crisp, neat appearance.  A single sloppy turn will show in the finished seat.  I’m getting better, but have a ways to go.

After a couple of evenings of weaving, I had the seat ready for the sealing coats of shellac.  

Two coats of shellac is plenty to seal the fibre rush.  It really is surprising how much shellac the first coat will absorb, but the next coat goes on quickly.

The last thing to do was add one last coat of Tried & True Original to the stool frame and give it a final buff with a soft cloth.

Part 2 Greg Merritt


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12 Responses to Shaker Stool 128 Mod-Part 3-Complete

  1. Salko Safic says:

    Wow Greg now that’s what I call handmade its beautiful it has all the human elements to it. If I machine made this and I saw it in a shop I wouldn’t look at it twice but handmade I would actually buy it. It has character mate.

    Mate your going to be fine I have every confidence in you.

  2. dixislandboy says:

    HI Greg,
    That is ONE FINE looking seat. I’ve done a little of this kind of work with Corrugated Cardboard Triangles sandwiched between the top and bottom strands. But my work NEVER looked as good as yours does.
    Great Post, even GREATER work.
    Bill B.

    • Greg Merritt says:

      Thanks Bill!
      Mine has cardboard triangles stuffed into it too. Just part of the process.
      I’m startting to get a feel for the whole weaving process. There are lots of little things that you have to pay attention to though.

  3. Very attractive, Greg. I really like the look of the rush seats and have been interested in the technique for a while. Thanks so much for sharing it with us. It’s on my “one-of-these-days” list.

    • Greg Merritt says:

      Thank you Matt. I think a lot of us are working through our “one-of-these-days” lists. Just not in the same order of priority. Building the lathe has given me the opportunity to move some of the stuff on my list up closer to the top.

  4. Derek Long says:

    Yup, pretty nice looking stool.

  5. Dave G says:

    I am truly amazed , For a guy who also has a full time job you are producing a quantity of quality hand made items that a factory would struggle to keep up with. You must be close to making a living from your hand woodworking skills!! I could see you at a craft fare with your lathe turning spindles and selling the stools

    I get tied just reading your blogs , please keep it up

    • Greg Merritt says:

      Don’t be too amazed. You would be surprised how much you can get done with only an hour per day in the shop. I have been lucky as of late to spend several hours of the weekend in the shop. So that helps.

      I have a few more pieces that I want to explore befor giving any serious thought to producing items to sell. I have been giving it some serious thought lately. Not so much to make a living, but simply to support my hobby.

  6. momist says:

    Interested to see the whipping joint. Did you consider a sheet bend in place of a square knot?

    • Greg Merritt says:

      The sheet bend would be just as bulky as the square knot. Plus the one tag end would be jutting out at 90deg. Making it even more difficult to conceal within the weave. The simple whipping is compact and plenty strong. I broke the cord on my test piece while the whipping held fast.

If you don't comment this is just a fancy way for me to talk to myself.

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