When going through historic Germantown, one of the things you would least expect to see is a store specializing in chair caning, the weaving of cane into chair seats and backs. However, that is exactly what Nicholas Thaete has been doing in the area for around 30 years. Originally an O.R. technician. "I was born in Mt. Airy, and I got started when I borrowed my sister's chair caning book. The thing was, she never finished her first chair and here I am," Thaete said.
Thaete has been at his current site in Maplewood Mall for around two to three years, and it's pretty hard to miss when walking through the mall area. From outside one can see antique chairs lining the walls through the shop window, some caned, some waiting to be caned.
"The oldest chair I have in store right now is from around the 18th century," although Thaete later went on to say that he didn't make a habit out of working with this various historical societies in the Philadelphia area because "they have no money." Beyond that, he says that there is a dispute in the business asking whether or not to keep the original canes, or to refurbish the chairs so they can be used. "Most of the chairs I work on are meant to be sat on."