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.
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