Bent Wood Chair Caning

Bentwood chair before and after cane seat is replaced

  • Does your bentwood chair need a new cane seat?
  • Is the bentwood frame loose and in need tightening?

Here’s a quick overview of what is entailed in restoring a bentwood chair with a woven cane seat.

This project required most of the common bentwood chair repairs,  including the essential cane seat replacement.

Before Replacing the Cane Seat…

Bentwood chair with cane seat removedBentwood chair restoration typically begins with any repairs and tightening that may be needed. Simply replacing a cane seat will only change the aesthetics of the chair. As a whole, the chair must be sturdy and stable. It’s not just about replacing the seat.

Some key features to note about bentwood chairs are;

  • Impressive design
  • Lightweight yet strong
  • Requires no mortise and tenon joinery.

Easily Repairable…

As for this particular bentwood style, glue was only required for the front legs. All other connecting joints were originally assembled with screws.

For our project here, the front legs did require re-gluing. Once the glue was dried, we tightened the hardware and the chair was sturdy again.

The beach wood frame was then cleaned, touched up and polished to recondition the original finish. This process allowed us to revive the old finish while preserving the original patina.

Now We Can Replace the Cane Seat

New cane seat in a bentwood chair

Replacing a pre-woven cane seat begins with the most difficult step -removing the spline and cleaning out the groove. After that, it is a fun and rewarding project.

A pre-woven cane sheet is cut to fit, positioned, and installed with new spline.

Make It Look Original
To give an aged look, the cane seat is then colored. This process is an important step for antique furniture.

Although the seat is new, we do this to match what was existing. It also enables us to match the chair to others in a set (if needed).

A Note About Hand Cane & Pre-woven Cane

Replaced cane seat colored to match what was original

The seat on this bentwood chair was previously converted from a hand cane seat to a pre-woven cane seat.

Conversions like this are often seen and still practiced by many.

They are easy to spot, as the original holes used for hand caning are still visible on the underside of the seat.

Pre-woven cane is identified by the spline which is pressed into a groove around the top edge of the seat.

This bentwood chair had both, meaning it was converted from hand to pre-woven.

Restored bentwood chair with new cane seat

Why?

Typically people decide to convert seats from hand cane to pre-woven cane for two reasons – time and $$!

This is a task we do not preform at our shop. This conversion from one to the other will in time weaken the seat frame. It is also very difficult and expensive to reverse.

Does Your Bentwood Chair Need a Cane Seat?

Contact us, or check out our resource page to find a specialist in your area.

Comments

  1. Christine Batten says

    I have a bamboo bentwood rocker, circa 1976, whose seat needs to be replaced. I live in Baltimore, MD 21212. can you recommend someone to do this? Approximate cost to repair? is it worth it?

    • says

      I don’t know anyone personally. A quick search on Google for chair caners in your area is not showing much.
      It has been my experience to see that a majority of seat weavers work from home and do not have a website.

      I would recommend trying the 3 caners (in MD) listed on the directory provided by The Wicker Woman.

      Other options would be to search for furniture restorers in your area.
      They should be able to help out with either service or a referral.