A hand-caned seat with flat
beading cane covering the holes.
A hand-caned seat showing the
holes around the edge.
Cane seats come in all shapes and sizes, from simple bedroom chairs to complicated bergère suites. There are several different patterns used in caning, but by far the commonest is the 6-way pattern: the vast majority of cane chairs are woven in this way as it is both strong and attractive. Even a complex pattern like the sunrise chair on the left employs the 6-way pattern.
RECOGNISING HAND-CANED SEATS
Even if the old seat has completely vanished it's easy to recognise a chair that should be hand caned. Round the edges of the seat you'll see lots of little holes, fairly close together. If these are not present, and the webbing seat seems to be held in place with a strip of centre cane or a narrow spline of wood, it's probably fitted with a pre-woven cane seat.
CHAIRS WITH PLYWOOD SEATS
Sometimes you'll come across an old cane chair with a piece of plywood nailed across the top. This method of repair was often resorted to in the past at times when, for various reasons, imported cane from the Far East was not available. If you think you've got one of these have a look underneath the seat for the telltale little holes. In order to restore the chair to its former glory, all that is required is the removal of the plywood before commencing caning.
If the seat is very large, or an unusual shape or pattern, the job will obviously take longer, but we've never come across a chair yet that we can't tackle. (Maybe you've got the chair that will challenge us?)
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
For a straightforward chair, with a flat surface, and if there aren't more than about 100 holes around the edge, the cost is only £1.30 per hole.
If the surface is very curved (as is common in chair backs), or if there is a special pattern (like the sunrise patterns shown on this site) the cost will be more.
If the surface is very big (more than about 100 holes) we use a more complicated pricing structure which reflects the complexity of the work. Double layered cane panels cost more than double, because the work takes much longer - but do please ask!