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Weaving the Seat and Completing The Chair

It is the last lap. A seat to weave and then the chair will be done.

For those serious about the weaving done here, I recommend a step-by-step pictorial by Ed Hammond. He also has a YouTube video here. I relied heavily on both for the weaving done here.

A variety of tools were needed, the most important were an awl for making holes, a hammer for Danish L-nails and for tacks, gloves for pulling the cord, a clamp to hold the tension in the cord, and a drill.

Strangely, Danish cord is made in Denmark! It is constructed by twisting paper into a rope with a diameter of approximately 1/8”. There are two types available, “laced” and “unlaced”, the difference being that the former is tightly twisted. More typically, it is the unlaced variety that is used, and is used here as well.

The cord comes in rolls, with 400 – 500 feet required per chair. This is ordered in weight, in 2 lb. or 1 kg coils.

Above, a simple holder made for the role to prevent it tangling.

Step 1: Installing the L-nails

The cord is attached to the frame with L-shaped nails. Most Wegner pieces have 17 or 19 nails attached to the front and back.

Weaving is done on solid- and split-frames (as here). The process is the same but the split frames are difficult to work. Not only does the cord have to be pushed through a 1/8” wide groove, but also there is less space to attached the L-nails – which later are hammered flat, which again benefits from more area.

Above, the rear rail (which is the same as the front rail). 19 holes are marked off, distanced equally from one another. On the side rails, the holes are marked off ½” apart. This will accommodate two double lengths of cord (4 x 1/8”).

After the front and rear rails, the awl was dull and I switched to an automatic punch. So much easier!

The holes are drilled and the L-nails hammered in.

Front rail closest the camera. Now ready for weaving.

Weaving is completed off the reel. It is one, unbroken length.

Essentially, you start by tacking the cord inside one end, and then create pairs of weavers by looping the cord through the back and then the front …

The spacing gets tidied up at the end, but needs to be kept evenly spaced.

As the cord comes over the rail and then back in through the groove, it is hooked on a nail to lock it in.

Above: pushing the double strand through the groove.

Above: Pulling the double strand over ….

down to the other side, over the rail, through the groove, and locking onto a L-nail.

Tighten the cord, and then pull it across to the other side, and start again.

The completed weavers.

A final step is to flatten the nails. They will be covered by the wrap in the next step.

Step 2: Wrapping the rails.

Note that there are several possible patterns. The one used here is a traditional square weave that was used with many of the Wegner chairs.

This is possibly the most tedious and mind-numbing activity. Essentially, all one is doing is wrapping the cord around the rail to fill in the space between the weavers.

Typically, there will be 5 wraps (sometimes 4) in the front rail and 4 wraps (sometimes 3) at the rear.

The split rail really made this a torturous process. On occasion I had to push the cord through the tight groove. In all, the front rail took about 3 hours, and the rear rail about 2 hours.

The completed front rail.

The completed rear rail.

Step 3: Weaving the Warp Strands

There are less pictures here as I received a message from Warren, who had offered to take in the chair to the Wood Show for me as I cannot get away from my practice during the week to do so (remember, there is a furniture-making competition I have entered) … and he plans to collect it Sunday. The problem is that it is now Saturday at near-midnight! I decide to push on, and finish the chair seat before heading to bed. That will be at 2 a.m.

The warp weaving is simply a continuous double strand, alternately under-and-over, until the seat is completed. Again, the complication is that the rails are split. The process is the same for a single rail, but much more finicky. The cord is pulled firmly at the rails but remains looser at the centre. It will tighten increasingly as more is done.

Above is the start.

Above – the completed seat. (I notice a strand on the left that needs to be pulled straight. That was done).

The underside of the seat. Note that all the warp rail nails have been flattened.

The Completed Chair

A comparison with the original chair … I think the weaving creates a lighter feeling. What do you think?

Regards from Perth


July 2014