How to Make a Rope Bottomed Chair

Written by charles dodd white
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A rope bottomed chair is an attractive piece of furniture for both porch sitting and regular living room use. Aside from its rustic attractiveness, a rope bottomed chair is also extremely sturdy while retaining its comfort. Rope bottoms are a great way to restore cane bottomed chairs that are beginning to fall apart. With a little elbow grease and patience, practically anyone can use strong hemp rope to create a lovely addition to his or her household.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Hemp rope
  • Scissors

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    Restoring a chair

  1. 1

    Remove any caning or other seating material from the frame completely. This may take some time to make sure all of the remaining material is pulled off; however, even the slightest oversight will make the weaving process much more difficult.

  2. 2

    Use quality hemp rope for the seating. Skimping on quality materials only increases the chances that the seating will sag and rot in a short period of time, making all of your hard work got for naught.

  3. 3

    Cut bights of rope that leave you with adequate overhang of at least six inches on either side of the chair frame. This extra material will be how you adjust the tightness of the weaving. Leaving too little will make the finer work of tying off virtually impossible.

  4. 4

    Knot the rope to one side of the frame and draw the other end across the seat frame so that the strand runs parallel to the chair's back rest. While some weavers use diagonal patterns for a more artistic look, this weaving pattern is easiest to use for beginners.

  5. 5

    Tie off the strand on the opposite side of the frame once the rope is suitably taut. The rope should remain fixed in place when gentle pressure from above is applied. Be sure not to draw the strands too tight or risk doing permanent damage to the frame itself.

  6. 6

    Repeat the parallel strands until you have completely covered the entire chair frame. Once this is done, you can clip off the excess rope material past the tie points.

  7. 7

    Measure and cut rope strands to run across the chair frame from the front to the back. Like before, remember to leave adequate rope on both sides of the tying points so that you can easily adjust the tautness.

  8. 8

    Tie at the front of the frame and weave across the previously laid strands, knitting in and out in predictable patterns of every four to five strands until you reach the back of the chair frame. There, tie off the top strand.

  9. 9

    Repeat this weaving process until you have covered the entire width of the chair frame. Once all of the strands are securely tied, you should clip the excess rope material as you did with the first layer before.

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