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bark from northern forests to replace hickory for woven seat of post-and-rung chair

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Forum topic by jdh122 posted 10-14-2013 06:41 PM 1119 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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jdh122

879 posts in 2277 days


10-14-2013 06:41 PM

Topic tags/keywords: seat chair weave

I’ve mostly finished my first post-and-rung chair, made with green wood and all hand tools. I’m trying to figure out what type of bark I can use for the seat. Most people seem to weave the seat with the inner bark of hickory. Unfortunately there is no hickory in our forests. I’m looking for suggestions for a replacement. I’d like to use bark (rather than rush or cord) and would like it to be something that I harvest myself (next Spring, since it’s too late to get running sap on trees now). We also have no white oak, so splits from these won’t do either.
There is some brown ash and I know that people separate the rings by beating it, but brown ash seems pretty rare and so far I’ve not been able to find any. Basket-makers snap it up with they can find it.
I’ve wondered about willow bark – bushcraft folks apparently make very strong cordage with it. I could probably get birch bark too, but the length of the strips will be limited by the circumference of the tree.
Anyone have any thoughts on the subject?

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests


4 replies so far

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daltxguy

1373 posts in 3373 days


#1 posted 10-14-2013 09:57 PM

It’s a good question and you’ve made it difficult by rejecting the best choices – birch bark, black (or brown) ash, white oak and rush.

You could sew in panels of white birch using spruce root instead of weaving it.

Cordage is also made out of basswood. I’ve made that but haven’t tried to use the bark in thicker strips.
Otherwise you could go with a solid carved seat using white pine, which is quite typical for things like Windsor chairs.

I will eventually make one of those chairs but I was thinking of justing buying some shaker tape.

-- If you can't joint it, bead it!

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jdh122

879 posts in 2277 days


#2 posted 10-14-2013 10:17 PM

Thanks. Maybe I’m too quick to reject birch – I think that each strip could be nailed on both ends and it might work. Also, interesting notion about birch panels.
Brown ash seems like the way to go, but so far no sources (plus I’m not entirely certain that I can tell it apart from white ash). I haven’t heard about using basswood, maybe that’ll work.
I have thought about shaker tape and may end up going that route for the first chair (otherwise it’ll be 7-8 months before I can sit on it).

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

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daltxguy

1373 posts in 3373 days


#3 posted 10-14-2013 11:04 PM

I don’t know if birch bark would be strong enough as a panel (ie: for sitting on, supported only by sewn edges) but here are some ideas I found for gathering and weaving strips of birch bark
weaving a birch bark seat
harvesting and making birch strips

-- If you can't joint it, bead it!

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jdh122

879 posts in 2277 days


#4 posted 10-16-2013 09:56 PM

Thanks for the links for using birch bark. Maybe I’ll take a stab at it.

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

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