Chair weaving is common to Shaker style upright chairs. Chair weaving tape, made like a thick ribbon, is woven across the top and bottom of the chair seat and a firm pad is inserted between the two layers to connect the layers and to better distribute the load of the person using the chair. The weaving process is not complicated but it can be difficult the first time you weave a chair. Once you have completed one chair you will be much more confident on weaving additional chairs.
Tack the 1 inch cloth tape end to the underside of a side seat rail. Choose the darker colour if you want to create a checkerboard pattern on the woven seat. Use a #3 upholstery tack and a hammer. The warp of the chair is the tape that crosses from front to back. The woof of the chair is the tape that crosses from side to side. The weaving process begins with the warp.
Bring the tape on the inside of the closest back leg until the roll of tape is behind the back of the chair. Take the tape up over the back rail of the chair seat, across the chair seat and over the front rail of the chair seat. Line up the tape across the chair seat so that it is perpendicular to the chair back and tight to the closest chair leg. Often this type of chair has a seat wider at the front so use the back chair leg as the guide. This may appear to leave a triangular shaped open area between the tape and the front leg but this will be dealt with later.
Take the tape under the chair seat to the back. Bring the tape up next to the first tape. You will notice that the tape crosses the underside at an angle. This is normal. Pull your tape taut. The tape should be firm but not so tight that the wood rails bow.
Bring the tape across the chair seat to the front. The two rows of tape should be straight and within 1/8th inch of each other. Continue wrapping the warp across the entire seat. When you reach the last row, cross the seat to the front, bring the tape under the seat to the side rail close to the back leg post. Tack the tape (under tension) to the underside of the side rail. Cut off the tape with scissors.
Cut a foam cushion the size of the chair seat using an electric carving knife. Cut off 1 inch triangle of the corner on each corner. This keeps the foam from showing when the chair is finished. Slide the cushion in between the warp top and bottom layers.
Unroll the woof tape. If you are making a checkerboard pattern this will be the lighter colour tape. Cut your tape into 10 yard sections to make it easier to work with. This may mean you will need to join tapes later. Find the centre of the warp weave along the back rail of the chair. Slide the tapes at that point to the side. Tack the woof tape end to the underside of the back rail at the centre point.
Turn the chair upside down. Thread the woof tape above the bottom level of the warp tape you pushed to the side in step #6. Bring the woof tape back out to the underside of the chair. This will allow you to slide the warp tape back into its original position. Weave the tape under the next warp tape toward the right back leg of the chair. Weave over and under until you reach the side of the chair.
Take the woof tape over the side rail close to the rear leg post. Weave over and under across the chair seat until you reach the left side rail. Bring the woof tape over the side rail close to the left leg post. Turn the chair upside down. Count the warp tapes back from where you started your weave so that you weave opposite to the first 1/2 row to create the checkerboard pattern. Weave over and under across the seat. Continue until 1/2 of the chair seat is woven.
Take a section of left over warp tape. Slide the right hand rearmost woof tape forward enough on the right hand side rail so that you can tack the end of the warp tape to the underside of the side rail. Slide the woof tape to cover the tack and the end of the tape. Weave the warp tape to continue your checkerboard pattern across the top and underside of the chair. Slide another woof tape to the side and cut and tack the filler tape end so you can hide the cut and tack.
Add a second filler tape halfway to the front of the chair, tacking both ends in a similar way. You will weave these with the woof tape to fill in the empty triangular spaces on both sides of the chair. Once your triangular spots have filler, continue weaving your woof across the remainder of the chair. When you reach the end of the rows bring the woof tape to the underside of the front rail. Slide the warp tape to the side and tack the end so you can hide it from view.
If you need to join tapes together, place two tapes, one over the other. Sew across the tapes with a sewing machine. Sew back across the same seam. Trim the edges 1/8th inch from the seam and hide the joint under tape during your weaving process.
Tips and warnings
- If you need to join tapes together, place two tapes, one over the other. Sew across the tapes with a sewing machine. Sew back across the same seam. Trim the edges 1/8th inch from the seam and hide the joint under tape during your weaving process.