Cane woven seats are easily identified by their characteristic weave, illustrated in the photo to the right. This page provides information concerning the services we offer for items with both hand woven cane and machine woven cane. We also have a page with information about specialty hand cane weaves.
The three chairs in the box just below show stages in the reweaving of a hand woven cane seat. With hand woven seats there are holes around the perimeter of the seat through which the cane is woven strand by strand. One rarely seen variation on this is "french", or "blind" caning. With this variation, the holes are not drilled all the way through the seat frame. Blind caning is more time consuming to weave, is a bit more fragile, and is usually only seen on chair backs. In both forms of hand caning the final step is to "bind off" the cane with a wider section of rattan cane which is called, not surprisingly, "binder cane." This gives a finished look to the perimeter of the seat. Examples of hand woven cane chair seats and backs follow the box.
The holes drilled into the seat frame can be easily seen in the detail. In the photo of the entire seat it can be seen that the holes are relatively evenly spaced around the frame of the chair. Hand weaving is priced in part by counting these holes drilled into the seat. Occasionally customers hear that caning is priced by hole and take that to mean the holes formed within the weave. Not so!
This is obviously a different chair, but it illustrates a hand weave partially completed. This typical woven pattern is confusingly referred to as a "six way" pattern, formed in seven steps, creating eight way interlocking center holes in the pattern! All of that can be explained rationally!
This is the same as the first chair but completed and colored. The natural color of the cane is seen in the photo to the left. In the photo just above the cane has been colored to resemble the old cane and to blend with the chair. Coloring is an additional service, for an additional, and sometimes expensive charge.
This is the chair illustrated with the before and after photos above. Very nice piece.
This is a hand woven blind cane arm section. The pegs hold the cane strands until each strand is in place. Then a tiny binding peg is inserted.
Two mid nineteenth century chairs. Round seats are more difficult than rectangular!
The cane used on this chair is a very narrow strand, usually reserved for backs. It did not hold up well. A larger strand could be used if the hole size and spacing will allow it.
The seat below and the chair pictured to the left shows a barrel chair, so called because of the continuous round arm and back structure. This type of chair presents a feature which makes caning very difficult (read expensive) in that the barrel shaped back and arm structure meets the edge of the caned seat. There is very little room to work! You see it here in stages of completion.
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This is a blind cane project. Pegs are placed in every hole until all the weaving is completed and the perimeter can be bound off. Pricing is by hole. Try to count all the pegs. Expensive.
Bentwood chairs are fairly common. Bentwood arm chairs are less common. Both are obtained inexpensively. Recaning can be much more expensive than buying.
This is a mid nineteenth century rocking chair. It has "hip rests." These were also called "nursing rockers," sewing rockers," and not surprisingly after hearing the above names, "lady's rockers."The cane was included to help to keep a body cool!
This is a nice pine rocker, again from the nineteenth century. This helps illustrate the diversity of items that have caning, from simple to ornate.
Here are illustrated stages in the work, from the very start, as the alignment of the cane is being checke to ensure it is as square as the arrangement of the holes will allow, to mid way through caning, to the point where the perimeter is ready to be bound off. It also shows more examples of the various shapes and sizes of caned surfaces.
The work of replacing a machine woven cane seat is much different from that of reweaving a hand caned seat. Machine woven cane is fastened to the seat by a spline which is glued into a groove. First, the spline and cane must be chiseled out of the groove so that the groove can receive the new cane. Care must be taken at this task or the wood to the side of the groove can be scratched or even chipped off. Machine woven cane comes in long rolls or sheets of cane (hence it is sometimes called "sheet cane"). A section of the roll must be cut slightly oversized from the opening in the chair to be covered. The cane is then pressed into the groove (hence it is sometimes called "pressed cane"). Finally the groove is filled with glue and a spline is hammered into the groove to finish the job and, with the glue, secure the cane. The pictures in the box below illustrate the stages of attaching a machine caned seat--the empty spline groove, the machine woven cane installed, and the finished job with the spline in place. Click the following link to view a brief video about machine caning.
The old cane has been removed from this chair back and the spline groove has been carefully cleaned of old cane, spline and glue.
The center photo shows another chair back onto which a sheet of cane has been placed and pressed into the spline groove.
Glue has been placed over the cane in the groove and then the spline has been forced down into the groove, holding the cane in place.
The excess cane can be removed before or after the spline is inserted. There are professionals who will argue the merits of each approach.
The seats on the two Jacobean style chairs have been redone and recolored. It is quite a bit of work to match finish colors on cane. To get custom color matches like the ones done for each of the chairs in this row, is expensive.
The two photos to the left show a very easy to see spline groove and a roll of machine cane on the seat. The color match on this chair was a stock color.
The machine cane on these two seats is the natural color. The cane will slowly mellow to a light amber color. The round is a bentwood chair.
These two oak chairs have machine woven seats but obviously not in the standard weave. As illustrated in this and the other photos in this and the next row, several woven patterns are available in machine woven cane and therefore are also somewhat "standard." This pattern is called "close weave."
This photo illustrates three things. First, the cane weave know as "radio net," and also, "box weave." Second, a split back style chair. And third, the masking necessary when coloring cane.
This photo is of the standard weave. The main reason to include it is to show another end result of coloring the cane.
Pricing for applying machine cane is primarily based on side to side and end to end dimensions at the largest points. Adding to the cost can be features such as backs, non flat surfaces, and multiple inline curves. This hit two of those three. The weave is a "danish weave."
These two chairs are obviously the same design and from the same maker in the same era, 1960s. They came from two customers who wanted different things. One kept the danish weave pattern in both the seat and back, the other wanted the close weave pattern for the seat. The customer is king!