Friday, October 25

Chair caning

When my father retired, he needed something to occupy his time so he decided to learn how to cane chairs.  He and my mother collected antiques for their entire married life (63 years) and would often find a chair or bench that needed to be repaired -- trying to find a craftsman who could do authentic caning was no easy task!  Daddy thought that since there seemed to be a need for this he would try to fill the void.  He rapidly learned this dying art form and soon the antique dealers in their area were calling him to repair things that they wanted to sell in their shops. His reputation soon grew and before long, he practically had a full time job caning and refinishing chairs.

This antique rocker is a real treasure for me -- not only did my dad do the caning, he did it in a very unique and unusual Star Cane pattern.  The photo in the supper right corner is the trial sample board he made to see how it would work out. When caning is done with individual reed spline, you have to consider the width of the spline as well as the number of holes that go around the edge of the area that you are caning.  Guess those math skills I thought were useless really do come in handy!

The picture on the left above shows the underside of the caning -- notice that there are no loose ends -- each is woven in tightly.  When you are looking at a chair that has caning, turn it over to see the back or underside -- that will show you if it is really caned with individual reeds or if it has been done with the sheet caning that you just place into a grooved area on the top of the chair.  When you look at the bottom you won't see the woven ends if it is the sheet type of caning. And that will definitely affect the price of the piece.

I am so grateful to have the many chairs that my dad did for me.  This is the only one with the Star pattern -- the others all have the traditional caning style.  He made some miniature chairs too for my mom's bear collection.  I have 5 of them and will show them in a later post.

Sharing with Furniture Fridays, Tweak It Tuesday #62


  1. I always avoid caned chairs and benches because there just anybody that does that kind of work anymore!!! Its an art as you have shown. Your father is amazing to have learned how and then did such a fabulous job! :)

  2. June, Thanks for visiting my blog and for taking the time to comment. I am honored to have these antique pieces that my father was able to refurbish for me.

  3. I love, love, love this chair! A beautiful chair and another great story to hand down to your children.