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Replacing Cord on Danish Side Chairs - 2nd edition

- 30 Nov 2012 -
130 posts / 0 new

Does anybody know how to begin? I have all materials and tools for doing it, but I don't know how to arrange the first step. Are there any tutorials on the net, if so I can't find it. Thanks in advance and kind regards


- 30 Nov 2012

First of all... whatever you need to do to the frame to fix that dryness or whatever it is. If it needs oil, do it before you get paper cord on there, otherwise you risk oil stains on the cord.

Second, this is a rush style seat, not the basket weave that is in most of the photos in the original thread. There are no L nails or even nail holes in the rails, that's how I know. If you want to convert it to a basket weave style set, you can---but you need to get the L nails and you should probably pre-drill holes for them.

If you want to proceed with a rush style seat, I like "The Caner's Handbook" if you can get a copy in Germany. If not, there are lots of videos and websites on how to do it. I glanced at a few but don't really know which are the best. (The few that I did see use paper rush, or "fiber" rush, which looks similar to Danish paper cord but is more flexible. Paper cord is harder to weave well than fiber rush but it wears better and is nicer looking.)

Here's one that looked ok:

- 30 Nov 2012

I'd probably start
by taking care of the finish on the rest of the chair.

Edit: You beat me to it, *spanky*!

- 30 Nov 2012

I just skimmed through the other thread on this subject and there's some information on weaving the rush style seat there, so you might want to look for those posts in it.

I'm of the opinion that more is more when it comes to reading up on a new technique. Up to a point, anyway.

- 30 Nov 2012

...and sorry, I didn't notice the link in the first thread, so this thread can be deleted.
Thanks to all of you.

- 30 Nov 2012

But the first thread is definitely a keeper.

- 01 Dec 2012

Where to start
Well I have these chairs with original roping. I can post some pictures of them if you are interested. The are only couple nails used on these. The rope goes all around the seat, little different then Moller.

- 01 Dec 2012

H.W. Klein - Brahmin roping
Here are some pictures

- 01 Dec 2012

Wow...that looks like a lot...
Wow...that looks like a lot of paper cord for one chair. Also, I imagine keeping the necessary tension is a difficult task.

- 02 Dec 2012

that's actually really amazing
thanks for the photos.

- 02 Dec 2012

I wonder why they didn't do the basket weave on the underside, too? It would be more work but would take care of any even-tension issues (not that there are any, it'd would just eliminate having to keep that cord evenly taut on the bottom).

edited to add: the good news is that this weave will be way easier for a novice to do than what I thought it should have (the rush seat weave). Yay for that!

Also, the two tacks shown are done on the Moller chairs too, in addition to all the L nails. They just anchor the beginning of the cord and the tail end when done.

- 04 Dec 2012

Observation - comparing the weave (Brahmin vs. Moller)
This kind of weave has much more give. I haven't think of it until mentioned here. It also adjusts more when you sit in and stand up, which makes you hear the rope pronouncedly.

I may need to redo all my Chairs in near future (Moller and Brahmin). Which one do you think will be easier?

Thanks for the Replacing Cord on Danish Side Chairs threads, they are big help.

- 05 Dec 2012

Moller is easier
Cedara: Moller style, with the L nails, is easier, because you don't have to pass a bundle of cord around and around the chair when you do the weft.

Both look nearly identical doing the warp.

But with the weft, Moller style, the cord sits in the box with a hole cut in the top, with the cord coming off the inside of the roll, and you take a bend in the cord, weave it across the chair, catch the bend on the nail, pull tight, catch the cord on the opposite nail, and repeat. You are weaving two lengths of cord at a time this way. And you never have to measure or cut the cord until you finish the weft.

- 05 Dec 2012

I agree, the Mollers
would be easier to do, so start with them.

I think the hardest part is wrapping the rails neatly and as tightly as possible, cramming in those last few wraps at the end. And making sure you don't do any overlaps or twists anywhere, and making yourself undo the weave and fix any thing you miss! I hated having to do that when I first started and in fact I did skip fixing some overlaps on an early chair or two that I still have. Someday I'll redo those chairs. It only shows when you turn it over, but still.

Now I'm in the habit of feeling each wrap as I do it to make sure it's right. Also, I have learned the hard way to rotate the spool of cord as I weave, so that it doesn't get so tightly twisted that it doubles over on itself. I used to spend a lot of time undoing those kinks.

- 05 Dec 2012

Hi... ...I've got it!!! I'm as proud as ... but it was a heavy job, first I thought, okay, just an afternoon and it's done, but it took three days and my fingers now are completely "out of commission"! I know the bottom of the chair is not perfect, but only our cat can see it!

- 12 Dec 2012

Wow, great find,
tchp! I am gonna watch all six of those in hopes that i can reweave my Wegner rocker properly, once and for all. Thanks so much for posting the link!

- 24 Jan 2013

spacing of L-nails
Hi, I'm not sure if it is appropriate to post on to the end of this thread, but along with part I, it seems to cover a lot of ground.

I am cording a new bench (I made it so there are no existing nail holes), and I'm wondering about the spacing of the L-nails. I borrowed an example of cording from a friend which has the nails spaced at about 1" apart, perhaps a bit more. (It would have been a good idea to sort this out before I designed the bench, I know) The best spacing that I am able to configure is 1-1/8". Can anyone comment on whether this might result in a weave that is too loose? Is there a magic number for this? I am using Danish cord.

Many thanks!

- 25 Jan 2013

That should work ok.
The nails on the side rails should be much closer, more like 1/2" apart. Most of them have two loops of cord on them and some will have three.

I would just do the front-to-back strands with less slack rather than more. That would help to make up for the slightly wider spacing, I think.

- 25 Jan 2013

This may go without saying, b...
This may go without saying, but make sure when you do hammer in your nails, that you don't put them in a straight line. I started doing this on the first Moller chair I re-wove and realized that the rail was starting to split. Never made that mistake again.

- 25 Jan 2013

Keep in mind that you need an...
Keep in mind that you need an Odd number of nails for the warp strands on the front and back rails (the first strands that are done on a chair or bench). Most Moller dining chairs have either 19 nails for the warp strands, or 17. I do not know why the factory varied the number. If you do a chair with 17, this puts the nails at about 1 inch apart on the front rail. If the chair has 19 nails, it is about 7/8 of an inch between each nail on the front rail. Since you use an odd number of nails for the warp strands, this gives you a nail that lands right in the middle of the rail. So, be sure to start from the center of the rail when laying out where your nails go, to be sure you get one right in the center.

My Moller long bench has nails that are spaced at about 1" apart, although it actually may be a little more than 1". For your bench you will still need to figure it out mathematically so you end up with an odd number of nails.

As spanky said, the nails on the side rails are about 1/2" apart.

- 25 Jan 2013

no nails on the side rails...
Thanks for your response. You mention that the nails on the side rails should be closer together... The sample that I have does not have any nails on the side rails. The start of the cord is tacked, and then it just wraps. Is there something wrong with this?


[I apologize if you read this a few moments ago--it looks like I have my answer about the odd number of nails in the intervening posts--thanks!]

- 25 Jan 2013

If an even number of nails...
If an even number of nails is used for the warp, then yes, it will result in the weft weaving Under the warp on one side of the bench, and Over the warp on the other end of the bench. Most people must find this effect disconcerting, since all the weaving instructions one sees for cord, rattan, etc, makes a point of wanting both sides of the chair, bench, etc., to be the same. It would be especially noticeable on a chair seat if it was not the same on both sides.

- 25 Jan 2013

You can wrap the side rails instead of using nails but you'll have to weave with a finite (cut) length of cord rather than pulling off the spool as you go. This is because you have to pull the entire length around the side rail before weaving it back across the seat. It takes longer and you have to be careful to keep your hank of cord from getting tangled as you weave and wrap, but other than that it is not really any harder to do.

My current method of keeping the cord neat is to do a hank that is about 14-16" long, secured in the middle with a heavy rubber band. I can pull a loop or two out at a time without the whole thing getting messed up. As the hank thins out, I redo the rubber band so that it's snug. Works pretty well if I'm careful. (I have no desire to spend 3/4 of my weaving time undoing tangles, which is what used to happen. Ugh.)

- 02 Mar 2013

Looking through an old...
Looking through an old Mobilia for a table ID, I found this. Thought all the chair weavers would enjoy.

- 02 Mar 2013

Oh, man.
Those guys have quite the backlog!

Cool pic. Thanks for posting!

- 02 Mar 2013

I wonder what their daily...
I wonder what their daily quota was.

- 02 Mar 2013

Espen would know,
if he comes back to check this thread. I think he used to work for them, right?

- 12 Apr 2013

Acquired Four Moller 78's
Read this thread at least three times. Twice prior to purchasing the chairs. As you can see, they have been upholstered with orange cloth. I believe that these were originally only paper cord or black leather. Only after reading this thread and a few other sources did I feel as if I can take on the task of restoring the chairs. The wife is thinking she would like black paper cord. I have questions for the group:

1) I am pretty sure that these are teak rather than rosewood. Does anyone know what the original finish was on these chairs? (Praying for oil, praying for oil!)

2) Inputs as to black or natural paper cord - let me know what you think. The decor of our kitchen has no bearing.

3) How many danish nails should I purchase?

Purchased Berry's staple tool. Awaiting your input before purchasing the paper cord.

Currently, as the support for the fabric is lacking, the cats love the chairs because they are "hammock-y."

Thanks all.

- 12 Apr 2013

Nice looking cat
Moller chairs are always an oil finish, which is generally self-evident as there is no coating of varnish on them.

Black cord is quite difficult to come by in the U.S., and expensive. The only supplier I know of, in the UK, told me they no longer ship it to the U.S.

You are saying there is no support under the chair fabric at all? Literally nothing? Are there any pre-existing nail or staple holes from the original upholstery or cord?

- 12 Apr 2013

Four chairs take a...
Four chairs take a surprising number of L-Nails. Also, if this is your first time using them, you'll probably mangle a few; I'd recommend ~100 per chair. You don't want to feel like you have to re-use bent nails because you're running low.

I got mine from Country Seat, and followed *Spanky*'s advice and bought a 2.2lb box (~105 dozen) because I'll be doing more chairs down the road. I had to email them for pricing as it's not listed on their site.

I buy my cord from Frank's Cane and Rush, as their prices are the best I've found. They only sell natural though.

Remember to pre-drill the holes (if they're not already present) and stagger them. Read through the original thread for good info on spacing and whatnot.

- 13 Apr 2013

Moller chairs have always had...
Moller chairs have always had either 17 nails in the front and back, or 19 (it has to be an odd number). I do not know that it is critical, but I believe that the inexpensive, thinner diameter cord I have bought from Frank's looks better when you use 19 nails, and the slightly thicker "Danish imported" cord that some of the other suppliers carry looks better with 17.

- 13 Apr 2013

I think the natural cord woul...
I think the natural cord would be more flattering to the cat.

- 13 Apr 2013

Cat is 17 year old, 7 pound, "Plato"
Thought it was oil. Glad that it is. Easier to maintain. Easier to restore. Phew.

Thank you tchp for the confirmation. There was a sight with black cord, but it is UK. I will inquire but am expecting your information to be true.

It appears that the chair has a burlap webbing straps spanning side to side and front to back. Between it and the orange seat is some batting and then between it and the black linen underside, there is more batting.

I don't intend to do more chairs, but if I can do it and do it well, then it may turn into an "on occasion hobby." 105 dozen may be a bit much though!

If I cannot acquire black cord, Frank's is probably where I will go based on all the other sources named in this thread, etc.

Natural cord with a gray cat - certainly better contrast!

Thanks all. Ready to hear other opinions, thoughts.

- 13 Apr 2013

That appears to be an upholst...
That appears to be an upholstery job that was done at the factory. It has black trim tape which looks like it has the original black painted staples.

- 13 Apr 2013

Wow, Plato is looking good...
Wow, Plato is looking good for seventeen. He is really a pretty one. Nice chairs, too.

- 13 Apr 2013

Have fun with those...
Have fun with those staples....Its brutal.

- 13 Apr 2013

Dying danish cord black?
Frank's supply mentions the possibility of dying Kraft paper fiber rush with water soluble dyes (which they sell). Danish cord is simply three ply Kraft paper as well. So then it would seem that it might be possible to dye it black....?

Anyone ever tried this? Since it is maybe impossible to get in the US, maybe this is an option.

- 13 Apr 2013

I am clearly no expert. I did not know that these came upholstered originally. I DO NOT have such skills or appropriate equipment.

Input from the group?

1) Get them upholstered (not orange)?

2) Cord them myself?

Thanks. I will have to measure out and place nails (hope I am capable - I am a high school math teacher!).

Thanks everyone. Yes, little Plato is out tiny little one.

- 13 Apr 2013

It will cost less if you
convert them to woven seats and do the work yourself. But some purists might advise you to get them upholstered. I think it's ok to convert to woven. They are really nice chairs but they were very mass produced and the same chair can have either woven or upholstered seat. I think there is a little corner detail at each leg post, but it's so minor that I don't think it makes a noticeable difference.

I have done a lot of dyeing, though not of papercord. I do know that the dye will likely not penetrate the entire cord. What this means in the long term, I'm not sure. Maybe nothing. The other thing is you'd have to test the cord first to see if it swells when the dye soaks in. Water causes it to swell and in my experiments it does not shrink completely back to its original diameter when dry. This isn't a big deal when the seat is already woven (which would be the case when cleaning a woven seat with soapy water). But I would not particularly like to dye a woven seat on a chair because I'd worry about dye seeping under whatever I used to mask off the wood. And dyeing the spool of cord wouldn't work if the dye causes the cord to permanently swell!

On the other hand, if the dye is non-water based, maybe you can dye the unwoven cord. I dunno. I love black cord seats and have put a lot of thought into how to get black cord (including dyeing) but in the end I decided it was too much work and/or expense. I like the natural cord nearly as well.

On the side rails the nails will be much closer together and it's important to stagger them as someone else said--just want to make it clear that they should be the same distance apart, but at different heights. I just redid a Moller chair where the original nails were in a straight line and they had split the rail! Maybe a new guy worked on that one? I was very surprised to see it.

- 13 Apr 2013

New Guy
Or a "new guy" like the novice I am did not do his homework and seek out knowledgeable folks to get advice before hand!

The wife is coming over to the natural.

Corded. I have an email in for black cord. Maybe the seller would be more apt to ship if there was a decent sized amount. I can ask. If anyone is interested, let me know how much, etc. Again, could be all for naught, but . . .

Thank you, Spanky, for your thoughts.

- 13 Apr 2013

IF you manage to find a...
IF you manage to find a source for a bulk order of black cord, I would be interested (depending on price). I don't have anything specific in mind, but I've got several paper cord chairs in my future and I'm sure I'll want to try something new at some point.
Last time I saw pricing, black was ~6X the price of natural. That puts it at ~$30 per chair or more, which can add up if you're doing a set of six or eight.

- 13 Apr 2013

Someone on this thread or the
first edition thread had a source and wanted to know if anyone wanted to go in on a big order. So you might want to look for that.

Thirty dollars per chair for cord is still way less than you'd pay someone to either weave a new one or upholster with fabric.

- 13 Apr 2013

Pricing of Black per. . .
Link below. The website list is 70 lbs for a coil. A coil is 5 kilos which the site indicates is good for 4 -5 chairs.

That translates to a coil of 11 pounds and is $107 (today per google) for a coil (not including shipping).

That would be $25 plus shipping per chair (round number).

Per that site, the natural was either 50 LBS or 60 LBS English compared to the black at 70 LBS. But, cost of living is generally higher in UK as I understand it.

I suspect that I need to get 5 coils to get 10 pounds of cord from Frank's which is 13.25 each for a total of 66 plus dollars. The black (as of yet, without shipping) is not yet double the cost.

I am awaiting a reply and will let the board know if they are even willing.

again, thank you for all the attention.

- 14 Apr 2013

dying danish cord: preliminary test
I just soaked a few feet of danish cord I have laying around (unlaced, from Frank's supply) in water for about 30 minutes. The cord was very thoroughly wet after 30 minutes soaking. Then I set it out in the sun unrolled to dry (takes no time in new mexico desert sun). It appeared slightly thicker when it was dried, but when stretched, it resumed its normal thickness and appears identical to when it went into the bath.

Next step will be to try this with something black. I am thinking fabric dye (RIT), or maybe india ink (watered down?), aniline wood dye, or perhaps a quebracho bark powder tea bath followed by iron sulfate.

- 14 Apr 2013

The stuff I tested never got back to its original diameter. Maybe it was the Baltimore humidity.

Look for a dye that works on cellulose. Rit might not work. You also want something permanent that isn't going to rub off on some sweaty dude's white golf pants, y'know?


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