Last post on bark for now. I went about finishing the seat for use after putting in the seat and letting it dry for a couple of days. During the time after weaving in the seat, during the days that it’s drying, I adjusted the spacing of the weave once or twice. The drying bark will shrink, leaving negative space, and I tried to adjust the spacing while it’s still slightly pliable – it gets a little tougher to adjust after completely drying.
How I went about finishing this seat:
*completed the weave, adjust bark accordingly
*scrubbed the bark with a stiff bristle brush, to raise all the frayed edges and strands
*removed the frayed strands
*sanded the bark in places to smooth minor issues and edges
*coated with thinned linseed oil
This stool design isn’t overly refined. It has tool marks and other indicators that it was made by hand. I laid out the detailing on the rungs by eye, so each one is a slightly different than the next, just by my human imperfection. I think the small differences make the stool look right. The preciseness gained by machines or rigid uniformity in layout would sterilize the stool, making it look mass produced and kill any charm it might obtain. With that in mind, a few gaps or less than perfect hickory bark does not bother me when bottoming the stool. While my intention is not a truely rustic piece of furniture, the bottom (imperfections and all) emphasize that a person made the stool.*
*Side note: The hickory bark can be dressed up much more than I’ve described, and the approach – while being similar to what I just described – would include more steps to improve the quality and consistency of both the bark and the weave. The seats added by contemporary chairmakes can be tight, uniform, and blemish free. My stool is not those things. Then again, it wasn’t my target.