Paper Cord Weaving
by Caleb James
Danish paper cord is three-ply, twisted paper, a strong material that Hans Wegner used on his now-classic CH25 lounge chair – a piece that inspired my chair. In the last issue (June 2017, #232), I showed you how to make the frame and hardware; here, I go step by step through weaving the “planflet” (flat-weave) pattern for the seat and back – it’s a simple pattern, and easy for even a weaving novice.
Before I begin, here’s an overview. Weaving is done in two directions. The first is the “warp,” which in this case consists of double strands of cord that stretch from the front to the back rails. These are spaced apart along each rail by four or five wraps of cord around each respective rail. The second is the “weave,” which fills in the pattern. It consists of double strands of cord that travel from side to side while alternating over and under the “warp.”
I should mention that weaving is like the proverbial cat: there’s more than one way to skin it. I can think of at least four ways I’ve gone about achieving this same pattern over the years, but this is the simplest. (It is not, however, the most efficient – so after you’ve gained some experience, try other approaches!)
Let’s start with the seat. To allow free access all around the frame for weaving, I cantilever it over the workbench edge while securing the legs to the benchtop with a light-duty ratchet strap. Because the legs are curved, it’s helpful to place a block of wood underneath to orient the frame at a nice working level. I use a packing blanket as a pad between them.
Just as in the frame build, patterns guide the way for weaving. Danish paper cord is an oddball in the measurement world. It is thicker than 1⁄8” but not quite 9⁄64“. It doesn’t have an exact metric equivalent, either. Because a typical woven rail would have well more than 100 widths of cord, even 1⁄100” per cord variation in the layout can put you considerably off.
That said, I’ve included patterns (see pages 30 and 34) that will help you get the warp layout right on for this build. To make a nice durable template, print them out, adhere them to posterboard with spray adhesive, apply clear packing tape over the patterns and cut them out.
The warp cords that extend from the front rail to the back rail are hooked around L-shaped nails located on the inside of the rail (see the Supplies on page 36).
Website: See more of the author’s furniture – and his wooden handplanes and other tools – on his website: calebjamesmaker.com.
Patterns: Download full-size patterns for the planflet seat and back weaving:
In Our Store: Check out Mike Mascelli’s basic and intermediate upholstery videos.
To Buy: If you missed the last issue (June 2017) with the author’s chair frame build, you can download it now.