Shaker tape, called listing by the Shakers, began to supplant other types of woven seat materials after 1830. Its range of colors, neat appearance, durability, and ease of installation made it ideal for furniture builders bent on producing quality goods as efficiently as possible. And unlike cane or other naturally occurring materials, tape does not dry out or split; nor does it pinch or snag clothing.
Shown below and on the following pages, weaving is fairly simple. One length of tape, called the warp, is anchored to the side rails and wrapped around the front and back seat rails in adjoining rows. A second length, called the weft, is woven alternately under and over the strands that form the warp. Loose ends are joined by weaving them back on themselves, ensuring that the rows always remain parallel.
Shaker tape is available in %- and 1-inch widths from folk-art suppliers. You can weave the basic tabby style shown in this section or create a wide variety of designs that include basic and complex geometric shapes.
The Shaker rocking chair shown at left features canvas tape seating as well as a tape back.
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