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Basketry Video Review:

Peeling And Weaving Hickory Bark Chair Seats - featuring Owen Rein
Produced By: A. D. Reiff of 13th Floor Productions

Hickory bark splints make a rustic, durable and beautiful chair seat. Arkansas woodworker and craftsman Owen Rein leads the viewer of this video through the steps of selecting and felling the proper tree, removing the bark splints from the fallen log, then weaving a herringbone twill seat and back in a rustic rocking chair.

The filming was done over two days in the woods and outdoors of Stone County Arkansas near Owen's workshop. His respect for the harmony of nature is evident throughout the film. He demonstrates each step as the project progresses. He takes care to provide details on both the tools and the process as he harvests the bark and weaves the seat and back of the chair. Information is provided on:

Preparing the bark

Selecting an appropriate tree
Knowing when to harvest
Determining what is useable in the tree
Felling the tree
Setting up a work area
Debarking the tree with a drawknife
Shaving the inner bark (phoelm) to a consistent thickness
Scoring the bark along the grain lines into uniform strips
Removing the bark strips from the log
Coiling the strips for storage

Weaving the chair seat

Preparing the chair frame
Attaching the first strip to the chair frame
Laying in the weft
Adding new splints using a weaver's knot
Adjusting for irregularities in the bark splint
Making the transition from weft to weaving
Weaving a two by two twill herringbone pattern
Hiding knots on the underside of the chair
Getting a tight seat
Tools to use to assist weaving
Finishing off the weaving with a backstitch
Setting in "fill-ins" to finish the front corners
Final detailing of the chair seat

The project of weaving a chair seat with hickory splints should be quite manageable using this video as a guide. The information on harvesting the bark splints is just as valid for preparing splints for hickory bark baskets as it is for weaving chair seats. This video is a useful tool for woodworkers and crafters alike. It will help them reconnect with the land and the trees that their materials come from.

Owen Rein is a traditional American woodworker and craftsman. He has been practicing and teaching traditional woodworking techniques for over twenty years. His work has been documented by such publications as the N.Y. Times and Washington Times. His furniture is on display and in use at the White House.

Owen Rein's Peeling and Weaving Hickory Bark Chair Seats

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