The problem with rush seats, however, is that--like cane seats--they tend to get saggy over the years, and then the rush strands begin to break. When this started to happen, I put cushions on the chairs to hide the breakage; and as a Band-Aid fix, I would try to control the damage with the help of Aileen's Tacky Glue.
About ten years ago, I finally decided that it was time to get the seats replaced. But when I looked into that, I found to my dismay that it was going to be prohibitively expensive to have them professionally done. (And I don't even want to talk about the disastrous outcome of my DIY attempt at it.) With real rush replacements out of the question, I did the next best thing: I made faux rush seats that are actually way more durable and much easier to keep clean than the real thing. These rush seat imitators will last forever, and they were actually pretty easy (although time-consuming) to make. If you have rush seats that are in need of repair, like I did, you might want to try this inexpensive trompe l'oiel treatment.
First of all, it helps if you have a handy husband who has a workshop full of different types of electric saws and other furniture-building tools--which I do. (If you don't, you may need to hire someone for part of the job.)
Once my husband was on board with this project, I unscrewed the seats and removed the rush strands from one so that he could use the wooden frame around which the rush had been wound as a template. On durable medium-density fiberboard, or MDF (a great wood substitute, especially if you're going to paint it anyway), he traced around the frame and cut out four solid seats that could be screwed back on the chair frames from underneath.
|One of the old dilapidated rush seats, and the template for the new ones.|
Well, that's it for "Faux-ny Baloney Week." From now on, I'm just going to be keepin' it real here at "String of Pearls."