FREE Basket and Chair Seating Patterns

FREE Basket and Chair Seating Patterns


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Splint Chair Seat

Weaving a Ladder Back Chair Seat with Flat Reed

Pattern by The Basket Maker’s Catalog - 521 East Walnut St. - Scottsville, KY 42164 1-800-447-7008

Sometime in the early 1980s, Lestel Childress, a fifth generation white oak basket maker from Park City Kentucky, showed Beth and me how to weave a seat for a ladder back chair. The following instructions are based on Lestel's method. Instead of white oak splits, we are using flat reed for our chair seat. Flat reed is inexpensive, makes a strong chair seat and will last for years.

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Flat Reed from The Basket Maker's Catalog

How much flat reed or 6mm binder cane will I need to re-seat my chair seat(s) using the pattern below? The answer is here: The Flat Reed Chair Seat Calculator.


Finished Chair Seat

The following instructions include terms used in loom weaving.

  • The warp of your chair seat wraps front to back.
  • The weft of your chair seat weaves side to side across the chair.
  • For this chair the twill weave is woven over 2, under 2, over 2, under 2, etc. With each row you will offset the pattern by one stitch, producing the characteristic diagonal lines of the weave.
  • The left of your chair will be your left side as you look at the chair from the front.
  • The right of your chair will be your right side as you look at the chair from the front.
  • The top of the chair seat is the part you sit on, the bottom of the chair seat is the underside of the chair seat.

These instructions may be used for seating a chair with any flat material (including reed, paper tape and binding cane).


Tools for seating a chair with flat reed

Tools and materials needed for the job (left to right):

Pliers, scissors, packing tool, bone (or plastic) folder, spring clamps, paper stapler and 1 coil* (pound) of 5/8" flat reed.

You could use 3/8", 1/2" or 5/8" Flat Reed for your chair seat.

The 3/8" Flat Reed works well on a smaller chair while the 5/8" Flat Reed is fantastic on a rustic chair. The 1/2" Flat Reed is an all-round good choice for any chair.

*Chair Seat Size: A chair seat that measures 13" on the sides (or less) and 15" on the front (or less) will need just 1 coil of material. Order 2 coils of material if your seat is larger. If you have any questions, please call 1-800-447-7008 and we will be happy to help you determine how much material you'll need for your chair seat.


Chair seat with four rungs

Remove the old chair seat; clean the chair and sand if needed.

Repair any broken rungs and apply the finish of your choice.


Rough Side of Reed

Open your bundle of reed and select the longest pieces.  Before using each piece, soak in warm water for 2 to 3 minutes--this is usually long enough to make reed flexible.

Flat reed has a smooth side and a rough side. We want the smooth side of the reed to face outward.

To determine the rough side, bend the end of the reed over your thumb. The rough side will fray or splinter more than the smooth side.

Photo to left shows the rough side of the reed.


Tie knot on the left side of the back rung

Begin the warp by tying the reed to the left-hand side of the back rung.

To tie the knot wrap the end of the reed under and around the rung, then under the reed and back through the loop so the end of the reed lays against the rung. Tighten the knot and trim any excess.

The rough side of the reed should be facing 'up'.

This knot will be covered in the next step and will not be visible on the completed chair seat.

Tying the knot for your chair seat


Starting the warp

Most chairs have a front rung that is wider than the back rung. You want to keep the warp perpendicular to the front and back rungs. Doing so creates gaps on either side of the warp on the front rung. These side gaps will be filled in later.

Starting from the left side of your seat, wrap the reed UNDER then over the front rung. The smooth side of the reed will be facing outward.

Weave to the back and weave on top of the knot and around the rung.

As you continue weaving around the rungs, each new row should touch the previous row and the weaving should be taut. Do not let the rows overlap each other.

Use the spring clamps to keep the reed secure.  Do not pull too tightly as this will distort the rungs.


Splicing the reed

Splicing a New Piece

Cut the reed so the end is on the underside of the chair seat.

Splicing flat reed for your chair seat


Staple the pieces together

Splicing - continued

Place a new piece of reed so it overlaps the old piece by 5 or 6 inches.

Remember the rough side of the new piece should be facing 'up'.

Staple the pieces together with a paper stapler.

The points of the staple should face the inside of the chair seat (between the top and the bottom).


Splice with staples

Splicing - continued

Photo showing the new piece stapled to the old piece.

Notice the points of the staples are on the inside of the chair seat.


Embed the points of the staples

Splicing - continued

The points of the staples are sharp.

Use your pliers to bend/flatten the points so they are embedded in the reed.

By flattening the points you'll prevent scratching or cutting yourself later.


Chair with most of the warp in place.

Continue warping your seat from front to back splicing when needed. Keep all of your splices on the underside of your chair and stagger the splices at various distances from the front rail.

Photo to left shows chair with most of the warp rows in place.


Starting the weft.

Do not cut your reed, we will begin the weft with the same piece.

After warping over the back rung for the final time bring the reed to the inside of the right back chair leg (see photos below) and over the top of the right rung in the back.

The reed will now be at a right angle to your warp.

Starting the weft

Bottom of chair seat

 

Starting the weft

Top of chair seat


Starting the twill weave

Weaving the Seat

For the weft you'll weave across the top warp pieces then turn the chair over and weave across the underneath warp pieces.

Remove the clamp as shown in the previous step and move it to the back rung.

Start the weft of your chair by weaving over 2 warp pieces, under 2 warp pieces, over 2 warp pieces, etc. near the back of the right side of your chair.

Photo shows top of chair seat.


First row complete

First top weft row completed.

Pull the reed snug when you reach the left side.

Do not pull too tightly as this will distort the side rungs.

Photo shows top of chair seat.


Underside of chair seat

Turn your chair bottom-side-up and weave the bottom in the same manner.

Starting on the right side, weave over the rung then weave over 2, under 2, over 2, etc. across the bottom warp pieces.

Notice the initial bottom warp (the warp tied to the back rail) has not been included in the weaving pattern.

You will weave the initial warp into the pattern when your weaving reaches the middle of the chair.

Photo shows bottom of chair seat.


Start the second row

Pull the reed snug.

Photo shows first row on the bottom of the chair seat.


The second row

Turn your chair back to the top and start your second row by weaving OVER 1 then under 2, over 2, under 2, over 2, etc. until you reach the other side.

Photo shows top of chair seat.


The second row on the top

Pull your reed snug and position the second row of weaving to touch the first row.

Do your best to keep the weft at right angles to the warp.

Photo shows top of chair seat.


Second row underside of chair

Turn your chair bottom-side-up and start your second bottom row by weaving OVER 1 then under 2, over 2, under 2, over 2, etc. until you reach the other side.

And for now we are still ignoring the initial bottom warp.

NOTE: The rows on the bottom of the seat will run at a slight angle to the rungs, but keep the rows touching each other.

Photo shows bottom of chair seat.


Third top row

Turn your chair over.

Weave the third top row under 2, over 2, etc.

Photo shows top of chair seat.


Splicing the weft

Splicing the Weft

The third bottom row is under 2, over 2, etc. just like the top. And for now we are still ignoring the initial bottom warp.

End a weft piece on the bottom of the chair seat.

Note: Your piece of reed may run out sooner or later depending on its length.

Photo shows bottom of chair seat.


Add the new piece of reed

Splicing the Weft - continued

Slide a new piece of reed (smooth side out) over the end of the old reed matching the weaving pattern of the old piece. Overlap the two ends across 7 or 8 rows of warp.

Stop the new piece of reed so it is completely under the warp rows and the end is not visible. Double check that the added piece of reed has the smooth side out.


Close-up of splice

Splicing the Weft - continued

Close-up of splice showing the new piece of reed on top of the old piece of reed.

The ends of both pieces are hidden.


Forth row

The fourth top row will be UNDER 1, over 2, under 2, over 2, under 2, etc.

Photo shows top of chair seat.


Pull row snug

Pull the fourth row snug.

Photo shows top of chair seat.


Pack the rows

Use your fingers or a packing tool and pack the rows so they are touching each other. Begin packing on row 1 and work each row in succession.

Keep the weft rows at a right angle to the warp.

Photo shows top of chair seat.


Four rows in place underside of chair

Bottom of chair seat with four rows in place.

Note: The fourth bottom row is the same as the fourth top row - under 1, over 2, under 2, etc.

Again we are continuing to ignore the initial bottom warp.

Photo shows bottom of chair seat.


The pattern starts to repeat

The weaving pattern begins to repeat.

The fifth row weaves the same over/under pattern as the first row: over 2, under 2, etc.

Row 6 weaves the pattern of row 2, row 7 weaves the same as row 3, etc.

Photo shows top of chair seat.


Pack the rows

Pack the rows as you go.

Keep the rows touching each other, keep the weaving taut and, on the top, keep the weft at right angles to the warp.

Photo shows top of chair seat.


Pick up the first bottom row

On your 7th or 8th bottom weft row, 'add' or 'pick up' the initial bottom warp.

Simply bring the initial bottom warp row to the surface and weave it into the pattern.

Photo shows bottom of chair seat.


Bottom of chair seat

Bottom of chair with 10 rows completed and ready for a splice.


Weave near the middle of the seat

Hint: The warp is looser near the middle of your seat, weave near the middle then position the row to touch the previous row.

Photo shows top of chair seat.


Using Bone Folder

As the weave gets closer to the front of your chair, you will need a bone folder or dinner knife to help with your weaving.

Slide the bone folder under the warp. Now slide the end of your reed onto the bone folder. Pushing with one hand and pulling the reed and the bone folder with the other hand you will be able to make each 'stitch'.


Filling the side spaces

Filling the Side Spaces

When your weaving is about 4 or 5 rows from the front rung it's time to fill the side gaps on the front rung. The size of the space determines how many pieces of filler you'll use. If you need pieces of a certain size, just trim the edge of the reed to the width needed.

Find a scrap of reed (or cut a length from a longer piece) that is about twice the length of your chair seat front to back and, maintaining the same twill pattern, weave the scrap from the front to the back along the "gap". Eventually the pattern "runs out" and you'll end the filler piece by tucking it into the weaving to hide its end.

You do not have to weave all the way to the back of your seat; in fact, the sloping side rung will get in the way. Just stop weaving when you run out of room and hide the filler's end under a few rows of your weft.

Photo shows top of chair seat.


Adding filler piece

Turn the chair bottom-side-up and, maintaining the same pattern, weave the filler piece toward the back of your chair.

Use the bone folder or knife as described above to assist you in making these stitches.

Photo shows bottom of chair seat.


Added filler piece

End the filler on the chair bottom by tucking it under the weft.

Photo shows bottom of chair seat.


Chair seat with added filler pieces

This chair needed two filler pieces on the right side and one filler piece on the left side.

Note: These filler pieces did not weave all the way to the back of our chair.

Photo shows top of chair seat.


Bottom of chair with filler pieces

Bottom of chair showing filler pieces.


Last row on the top

Continue weaving the remaining weft pieces.

Photo shows weaving the final row on top of the chair seat.


Last bottom row

Weave the final row on the bottom of the chair then cut and tuck its end under the warp.

Optional: Using a stapler remover, you may remove any staples that are visible.


Finished chair seat

Finished Chair Seat

Allow the seat to dry completely.

Your reed chair seat should give you years of service.

It's recommended that you enjoy your reed bottom seat indoors in a climate controlled environment.


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The Basket Maker's Catalog
521 East Walnut St
Scottsville, KY 42164
TOLL - FREE 1-800-447-7008