Woven Chair Bottoms

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Project by Roz posted 03-13-2011 06:00 PM 5710 views 2 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

In the past couple of weeks I have decided to give seat weaving a try. As of today I have done four. There are plenty of old Ladder Back or Shaker style chair frames around and almost no one who weaves seats. These chairs would have originally had Cane or white Oak seats. Some of these chair frames are very old.

I found suppliers online and ordered a variety of materials to experiment with. I discovered very good illustrated instructions free online and lots of help with figuring out how much material the job would take. I made the two colorful seats with Shaker tape, a cloth fabric tape requiring a foam core for the seat. The seat with the cord appearance is Sea Grass and the two color seat of splints is Flat Reed and resembles an Oak Seat in appearance.

The natural Reed and Sea Grass required about 20 minutes of soaking in water before weaving. I finished them with a coat of tongue oil but the instructions called for a mixture of thinner and Boiled Linseed Oil. Each seat took about one and a half hours to weave and I did them in the evening in front of the television. It was a lot simpler than I thought, and now I can replace chair bottoms with something more like what they originally had. I left the frames much as I found them, several still have some orginal paint. I gave them a good cleaning, lite sanding and a few coats of Tounge Oil.

There are a few more mateials I want to try and a few weaving patterns as well. Thanks for looking and give it a try.

-- Terry Roswell, L.A. (Lower Alabama) "Life is what happens to you when you are making other plans."

13 comments so far

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 5027 days

#1 posted 03-13-2011 11:48 PM

Very nice job, Terry. This is a dying art. My father used to do all kinds of chair caning. I learned from him and glad I did. I could keep myself busy 5 days a week doing this. I used to do it to fill in the slow times, when I first started my furniture making business. Now I only do my own chairs.

You might want to be careful with the tung oil. It’s all I use on my furniture, but found it had a unpleasant odor when put on some types of cane. The mineral spirits and boiled linseed oil works very well. Thanks for the post.

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 4956 days

#2 posted 03-14-2011 12:31 AM

Nice job, Terry.

View peteg's profile


4438 posts in 4106 days

#3 posted 03-14-2011 03:07 AM

Roz you reminded me of when I was a primary schoolboy we used to do woodwork classes once a week at the local high school, first thing I ever made was a small seagrass stool, (took me a bit longer than you have done with these fine examples)
you may have yourself a whole new line to offer. Boy you can play with pattens with this stuff.
All thoes chairs in pic 6, are these ones you have bought to redo & sell?

-- Pete G: If you always do what you always did you'll always get what you always got

View Roz's profile


1707 posts in 5069 days

#4 posted 03-14-2011 04:18 AM

Thanks for the kind words fella’s. Tim I appreciate the advice. i just bought an old rocker that needs some love and a cane back and seat. Your advice will prove helpful.

Peteg, the chairs in picture 6 are just some I left hanging when I bought the 4 I worked on. It is a before photo and just the sort of place where I find old forgotten funiture pieces like these chairs. It is the same place where I got the Heart Pine 6 board box I did a few years ago.

I will likely get a couple more of these chairs. I want to try some different weave patterns. I am having fun with this.

-- Terry Roswell, L.A. (Lower Alabama) "Life is what happens to you when you are making other plans."

View lightweightladylefty's profile


3665 posts in 4995 days

#5 posted 03-14-2011 05:39 AM


Thanks for the inspiration. I have an old Windsor that needs the Sea Grass seat replaced. I should get busy now!


-- Voltaire: “Those Who Can Make You Believe Absurdities, Can Make You Commit Atrocities” There are 112 genders (not including male and female)

View Roz's profile


1707 posts in 5069 days

#6 posted 03-14-2011 05:40 AM

Look on line there are very good instructions for Sea Grass. The grass is availible from Rockler and others.

-- Terry Roswell, L.A. (Lower Alabama) "Life is what happens to you when you are making other plans."

View STL's profile


68 posts in 4115 days

#7 posted 03-14-2011 10:46 AM

Very nice Roz! You picked up on it really quickly. It’s good to see older pieces brought back to life!

-- Dan Siggers, Alabama,

View Bob Kollman's profile

Bob Kollman

1798 posts in 4474 days

#8 posted 03-14-2011 05:43 PM

Those are great looking weaves. And the best part is you don’t have to sand the seats!!!!

Excellent work…

-- Bob Kenosha Wi.

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4617 days

#9 posted 03-14-2011 09:42 PM

Looks like first class work Terry. I’ll bet they would look good as panels in some frame and panel constructed furniture as well. I like those chairs of yours too. they are very similar to a traditional chair design which has been produced here locally from way back when. They are extremely sturdy/stiff with those double stretchers and the way the ingenious way the joints are made.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 5027 days

#10 posted 03-15-2011 02:56 AM

My Dad started buying his supplies from Franks Supply in California years ago and I still get mine there. They have a good supply of most everything, even sea grass.

View Roz's profile


1707 posts in 5069 days

#11 posted 03-15-2011 03:22 AM

Thanks Tim, I appreciate the tip. I don’t know if I am getting my materials at as low a price as possible. A recommended resource is always a good thing to have.

-- Terry Roswell, L.A. (Lower Alabama) "Life is what happens to you when you are making other plans."

View Taigert's profile


593 posts in 5123 days

#12 posted 07-02-2011 10:58 AM

I need to find the type of material yor used on the seat od rhe chair second from the right. The one with darker frame?
Who did you find that sells that material, that is what I have to learn how to do this week. I hope rge instructioms are as easy to find on the internet as found they were.
Any instruction, advice, or knowledge you would care to share would be greatly appreciated.
By what I see in the pictures, you have done a really good job at picking up the lost art of weaving chairs


-- Taigert - Milan, IN

View Roz's profile


1707 posts in 5069 days

#13 posted 07-02-2011 05:54 PM

Hi Taigert, The chair second from the right is done in Flat Caine. The Colors are Natural and Smoked Caine.
I got the smoked cane from The Basket Makers Supply
I have also found it from these other sources.

I got instructions from
If after you look around these sites you have questions I will be very happy to help you in any way I can. It is easy and fun to do seat weaving. I often do it while watching TV in the evening. I would recommend you start with a simple weave like a Herringbone which is a simple process of setting each row back one band in each pass to create the pattern. Have a look and PM me if you have any detailed questions. Good luck.

-- Terry Roswell, L.A. (Lower Alabama) "Life is what happens to you when you are making other plans."

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