Early Shaker chairs, like the Enfield chair featured on the preceding pages, were finished with rush seats. Traditionally, the rush was natural, consisting of marsh grass twisted into a cord which was woven in a center diamond pattern over the frame. Rush seats are both comfortable and durable, and can be done in an hour and a half or so once you get the knack.
This section shows how to rush a chair seat with a more contemporary material—tough-grade, fiber paper twisted into long strands, known as fiber or manila rush. Craft supply dealers are usually good sources of advice for the appropriate size and amount of rush needed for a particular project. Before starting, spray the individual lengths of rush with water to keep them pliable.
A fiber rush seat is woven onto a Shaker-inspired Enfield chair. Using this traditional material and the simple technique for installing it can impart a charming appearance to any stick-style chair.
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