The seat and back panel of this rocker are woven with rattan splint (flat reed), available from Connecticut Cane and Reed (www.caneandreed.com). Three hanks should be enough to weave one chair.
Soak a hank of splint in a tub of warm water for about an hour before you use it.Then open it up, bend a strand, and examine it. You’ll notice that one side has loose fibers lifting from it, and the other side is smoother with fewer lifting fibers. Arrange every strand you weave so the smoother surface faces upward.
A chair seat weave consists of two elements. The “warp” is the pattern of strands that runs between the front and back rungs. The “weave” is the pattern of strands woven perpendicular to the warp.
Tape the starting end of the first warp strand to the side rung as shown in Photo 1. Feed the warp up under the front rung, over it, then back around the back rung in a loop. Repeat these loops until you’ve filled the central rectangle of the seat.The final warp strand should pass over the front rung, then under, to the back of the side rung where you can tape it off.
Note: If you have to splice in a new length of warp, simply lap the first eight or so inches of the new warp over the last eight inches of the old warp and staple the two together (see Photo 2).
Now you can thread the first weaver into place between the warp strands (see Photo 3).
Before you dive into the other weavers, study Photo 4 for a few minutes. Notice that each new strand of weaver enters into the warp one warp strand forward from the point of entrance of the previous weaver strand.
Add gusset strips to fill the triangular sections of the seat (see Photo 5).
If you make a mistake with your weavers (and you probably will), nothing is lost. Simply pull out weavers until you reach the mistake.Then reweave. Also, an occasional weaving mistake is a cosmetic issue only. If, after you’ve finished the seat, you find a weaving mistake in the first few rows of weavers, it isn’t structurally necessary to unweave the whole seat and start the process over again.
Although I splice weavers on both the top and bottom surfaces of chairs, most chairmakers splice on the bottom only. There’s no need to staple the weavers; the tightness of the weave will hold the splice together.
Weave the back panel in the same way you wove the seat. I recommend that you remove the warp splice staples on the back of the chair when you’re done because the tightness of the weave will hold the splices tight. You can go ahead and remove the staples on the bottom of the seat as well, but I never bother to do this.