Woven rawhide seats

Certain types of ladder back chairs used woven rawhide seats. These are usually found in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California. They are very similar to their southeastern cousins that were woven with ash splint or wide cane.

This chair dates to the 1860’s – 1870’s and is made from Hickory with Pine back slats. The ends if the spindles interlock with one another which makes for a sturdy chair. You can usually tell this type of chair had a rawhide strip seat in it because of the impressions made on the top rails from the shrinking of the rawhide. They were often painted or sometimes left a natural color.

This seat was woven with a continuous strip of 50 foot half inch hand cut rawhide that has been soaked in water for several hours until very pliable.



The rawhide has to be very flexible as it goes over the rails and across itself for the weaving pattern. If woven correctly both knots will be in the back of the chair.

Once you are finished you end up with a diamond pattern seat that is very durable. The rawhide used is rather pricey and runs about $65.00.

There is a variation of the rawhide seat that uses a solid piece of rawhide that is folded over the top chair rails and fastened with rawhide strips underneath the seat. I have never worked on one of these but have seen pictures of them.

Reserchnrestorys, USA


Chris has been involved with antique furniture restoration and repair as a sideline for over 30 years hence the restorys (restoration stories) blog title.

Usually, he concentrates on chairs since he have always been fascinated with their wide variety and the various types of seating materials that have been used on them through time.

He enjoys creating Upcycled or Repurposed furniture pieces from salvaged wood and antique furniture parts thereby keeping them out of landfills. Sometimes these pieces can be original antiques which have totally lost their integrity and value as an antique. He calls these “Imagined Antiques”.

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