What Is Chair Caning

Helen Skeates
Helen Skeates
10 min read

As you sit on your beautifully crafted chair, you may find yourself wondering, “What is chair caning?” Don’t bother looking any further; you’ll find the solution here. Chair caning is an art form that involves weaving the seat of a chair out of the inner skin or back of a rattan palm.

Beyond merely describing this vanishing art form, this article will explore the “why,” “how,” and “what” behind chair caning. Learn all about it by reading on!

Why Is It Called Chair Cane?

Chair canes, and caned furniture more generally, reached their zenith in Victorian Era Britain. The custom, however, did not originate there. Before it caught on with the British, it was widely practiced by Tibetan warriors and Egyptian royals.

As a result of trade with Asia, caned furniture first appeared in the Netherlands, England, and France. The Tibetans even used canes as shields; the plant was popular across Asia and Africa.

Caned furniture was widely used in the English-speaking world because of its high quality and widespread acceptance. They were attractive because they took personal cleanliness and informality seriously.

Chair Caning for the Generations to Come - The Provincetown Independent

Caned furniture gained popularity and distribution in the English colonies. In fact, by the middle of the 19th century, caning had replaced leather as the standard material for cafe chair seats thanks to Thonet.

Cane is the Western name for the material obtained by peeling the outer skin off of a rattan stalk. Chair cane refers to this outer husk, which is the material used to make caned chairs. Rattan, the parent plant from which cane is derived, is found across Africa and Asia but is most abundant in Indonesia.

Rattan is in high demand, so people are investigating sustainable harvesting methods. Some people, concerned about environmental impact, even substitute synthetic materials for rattan.

The term “caned furniture” refers to any piece of furniture that has been woven using cane as the primary material. Cane furniture, a generic term for items made from rattan, should not be confused with this.

3 Benefits of Chair Caning

1. Timeless Appearance

Caned furniture has a classic appeal that is rooted in its timeless, natural, and down-to-earth qualities, despite its trendy status. The procedure, which entails weaving chairs out of rattan palm bark, can completely alter the look of the furniture. The adaptability of this design means that wicker chairs can be used indoors or out, on the patio or the deck.

2. Simplicity of Repair

A professional in the field of furniture restoration will have little trouble fixing any problems related to the caning on your chairs unless the damage is particularly severe. In most cases, broken or snapped straw is to blame for these issues. These should be dealt with as soon as possible because they can be irritating and painful, especially when seated.

3. Ease of Movement

Place your caned chairs on the deck or in the yard wherever you like. If you’re bored with the look of your current interior design for a while, you can bring them inside. Extremely lightweight materials like rattan and bamboo are used in the process, making it simple to turn your ideas into reality.

How much does it cost to re-cane a chair?

The price will increase with the degree of damage to the chair cane. To what extent and at what cost will depend on the skill and availability of the professional you hire to recane the chair.

If you’re an antiques dealer and you find a caned chair that needs recaning or repair, you might want to hire a pro.

One caned chair, if done by a professional, can cost as much as $350. This is due to the fact that having a professional fill each hole in a worn chair cane would cost around $2.

How long does it take to recane a chair?

DIY recaning of a chair, as opposed to hiring a professional, can cost up to $70 in materials. However, recaning takes a lot of time.

Hand-Woven Chair Caning | Lessonface

It could take you up to 12 hours to complete the recaning in one sitting. That is, if you know what you’re doing in terms of recaning chairs.

The benefit of DIY recaning is that you can take your time and spread out the work over several weeks. Also, resist the urge to be lazy and avoid using cane paneling.

Chairs with cane backs are a special order. This means they won’t match your chair and won’t be as durable as woven materials.

What material is used for chair caning?

Rattan is commonly used for chair caning. The outer skin or bark of the rattan palm, commonly referred to as “cane,” is what is used.

Rattan comes in a wide variety of species. Caning, on the other hand, is made from a species in the genus Calamus Rotan that is strong, attractive, and perfect for weaving.

What are the caning processes?

Several distinct caning methods exist. The traditional hole-to-hole hand caning is the most common. Porch cane, also known as wide binding cane, is another type of caning, along with spline and machine webbing.

The first involves inserting a prefabricated sheet of rattan cane onto the chair. The rattan is secured with glue and a reed spline.

The second technique for caning seats entails weaving the material around the chair’s dowels. Wide binding caning uses wide strips to create a double-layered weave, as suggested by the name.

What is the difference between cane and wicker?

Cane is a time-honored craft that exclusively employs rattan. It is woven in a variety of webbing patterns and is untreated and unpainted. It’s commonly used for binding because of its increased durability.

Wicker, on the other hand, incorporates natural and synthetic materials alike. It’s available in a wide range of hues and weaves. They can also be completed in white finishes.

How to Care for Strand Cane Bottom Chairs


Pinhole borers can cause extensive damage to wicker and cane furniture. White powder on the floor under the chair is a telltale sign of an infestation that needs to be treated with insecticide. You should immediately spray strand cane with an anti-termite spray or an insecticide containing permethrin after bringing it indoors. Before spraying your chairs with insecticide, make sure you read all of the labels. Don’t use an insecticide unless it specifically says pinhole borers are one of its target pests. Never attempt to clean your indoor furniture with an outdoor product.

Prevent Sagging

Strand cane chairs are susceptible to drying; however, while constant moisture is not ideal, it is necessary for the cane strands. If the seat of your chair starts to sag, dampen a sponge and dab the seat of the chair to evenly distribute the water over the strands. The chair should be left outside or in a well-ventilated room to dry after the excess water has been sponged away from the underside of the seat. If you give the strands a bath in water once a month, they will shrink and the sagging will stop. If you don’t want the seat to sag, don’t sit on a wet strand of cane.


Seats that have become stained or dirty should be washed right away with a wood soap or a mild detergent and warm water to prevent dirt and grime from becoming embedded in the strands and permanently discoloring the fabric. Rinse the cane strands thoroughly, then dry with a clean towel after cleaning with a soft material such as a cloth or soft-bristle brush. The strands can be vacuumed to remove any loose dirt or dust. To avoid buildup or stains, do this once a week. Strand cane chairs are susceptible to mildew and mold if kept in damp environments like the kitchen. Use a solution of bleach and warm soapy water to thoroughly clean this, taking care not to get any bleach on the surrounding parts of the chair. If you want to keep your strand cane chairs mold-free, keep them out of bathrooms, kitchens, and other damp areas.

Chair Caning & Weaving How-To | Needlepointers.com

General Care

Buttons and zippers can snag strand cane and leave behind sharp strands or fuzzy patches on the seat, despite the material’s durability. Use fine-grit sandpaper to smooth these out. Use mineral oil, orange oil, or lemon oil in very small amounts to protect the chair. The cane strands need these treatments several times a year to remain flexible. New cane seats should not be treated with any kind of finish. For strand cane to retain its pliability, the strands must be left unfinished. Even if oiled or treated with another finish, strand cane chairs should never be left outside. Even though strand cane thrives in damp environments, it cannot withstand rain or strong sunlight. The cane may become dry and brittle if you keep your chair close to heating ducts or other sources of heat. If you want your strand cane chair to last as long as possible, avoid standing on the seat and avoid kneeling on the seat by using a chair pad or cushion. This keeps the seat from sagging or breaking and extends its life.


This article on chair caning comes to a close. We created this site to help people like you find out details about chair caning and related topics.

Helen Skeates

Helen Skeates

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