What is a Rush Seat? (with photo)

A quick seat can be made from cattails.

A reed seat, also known as a wicker chair or seat, is a woven seat made from long grass-like vegetation that has been dried and used to weave the part that people normally sit on. There are several different materials that can be used to make a quick seat. It can be made from natural grass, such as cattails or seagrass that are wrapped, or fiber reeds made from twisted paper. These seats generally have an average lifespan of around 20 to 30 years. Weaving a reed seat is often called caning and can be completed as a do-it-yourself project or by a professional.

As a form of seating that has been around for hundreds of years, Rush seats are comfortable and surprisingly durable. The natural versions are constructed with woven grass woven around a wooden frame to create a strong, lightweight seat. The seat surface is slightly flexible and sags a bit when someone sits on it, rather than being stiff and rigid. Several different types of grass can be used to make a quick seat; some examples include cattails, rushes, seagrass and fiber rushes that are made from twisted paper. The wires are joined together to add strength to form narrow rope-like lengths that are interwoven in a well-spaced manner around the seat frame.

With proper care, a quick seat can last 20 to 30 years; life expectancy is usually shorter, however, if there are cats in the house. The seat can be cleaned with mild soap and water outdoors on a sunny day. To clean between the strands, a soft brush should be used, and the seat can be left outside to dry. Stains can be removed with denatured alcohol on a cleaning cloth. The seat can be protected from future marks with a sealant made from white shellac and denatured alcohol applied to the top.

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Eventually, hurried seats wear out: a good way to test is to press your fingernail on two of the wires, and if they break, it’s time to change them. It is possible to buy supplies and replace the seat by weaving a new one with a process called caning; this can make a do-it-yourself project relatively simple. Instructions are available on the Internet, in some books, may come with supplies if a complete kit is purchased. Another option for replacing the rush armchair is to seek the services of a professional wheelchair specialist in seat weaving.

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