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Cathryn Peters
Re: Bullrush
Wed Jun 13, 2018 4:25pm


Gather as much bulrush as you can since it keeps basically forever under the right conditions! I've NEVER in all my 40 years of weaving hand-twisted cattail and bulrush seats, been able to judge how many dried pounds it takes to do any piece. Nor have I been able to measure the quantity needed to do a single chair seat.

It all depends on the diameter of the strands you are twisting, the way you compact the strands together and of course, the size of the seat. On average, I think the rule of thumb is 2 dried pounds per chair seat, but I've never weighed my rush either! The smaller the diameter or strands per inch, the longer it will take you to weave so keep that in mind, too.

Since I weave only about 1/3 to 1/2 of the chair seat in a day's time and then leave the seat to dry overnight, I only mellow as much as I think I will be able to weave in that one day. I take a fist full of rush and mellow in a bedsheet inside a plastic sheet and sprinkle the rush with warm water. Then I wrap it all up and leave on the floor to mellow overnight.

I plan my schedule accordingly so that if there's not enough mellowed rush to go all day, I can switch and do something else until the next batch is mellowed overnight. And if there's way too much, I can wrap it up again and leave it for the next day. But NEVER leave mellowed cattail or bulrush overnight for three days in a row because it will mold.

Strive to complete the seat in one day or at maximum two consecutive days if you are not drying out the rush between weaving periods.

Be sure to watch my three Youtube videos on "How to Weave a Hand-twisted Rush Seat" and also check out all the cattail rush pages on the Articles tab on my website. And I have several blog posts about hand-twisted natural rush too, some go back to 2004 and beyond! Use the Search feature on the right sidebar and the category "Seatweaving" and natural rush to find all of them.

Also made the national Country Woman magazine last year (or was it the year before?) when they interviewed me about my cattail seat weaving! Recently, author and cabinet maker Nancy Hiller from Indiana just wrote another woodworking book. This one is called, English Arts & Crafts Furniture and features two hand-twisted rush chair seats I did for her reproduction Voysey two-heart chairs. It is just now available at bookstores and online through

My Youtube vids on weaving hand-twisted natural rush seats:

Part #1--
Part #2--
Part #3--

Hope this helps, Tom! Let us know how you are getting along in the process!

The Wicker Woman®--Cathryn Peters

  • Bullrush tag1023, Tue Jun 12 9:47pm
    I want to replace a damaged rush seat with bullrush. My ladder back chair is 16 inches wide by 14 inches deep. My local bullrush measures 30 to 36 inches long from base to seed head. How much... more
    • Bullrush, Sun Jun 17 4:58am
      If you don’t mind a bit of math you can estimate your bullrush needs.. Take 2 or 3 strands, twist the size rush you want and wrap it around a rail for an inch or two. Count how many wraps are in an... more
    • Re: Bullrush Cathryn Peters, Wed Jun 13 4:25pm
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