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Chair caning, rush seat weaving and splint woven seats are all terms for specific designs and techniques used in the process of weaving the seat of a chair.
This weaving process is called chair seat weaving, chair seating and seatweaving, but most people lump it all together and call any woven wicker chair seat, material and the act of weaving, “chair caning.”
The term “chair seat weaving” encompasses many different types of weaving techniques, patterns and designs, with chair caning itself being only one type of chair seat weaving.
Seats are woven with a variety of pliable materials such as strand cane, cane webbing, rattan reed, paper fibre rush, natural rush, ash, oak or hickory bark splint, Danish Modern cord, and Oriental seagrass to name a few.
These materials are then woven on wooden frame seats and backs of chairs, rockers and settees.
Otherwise known as The Caner’s Bible this book makes it easy to restore cane rush splint Danish cord rawhide and wicker furniture…
The Caner’s Handbook
If you’d like to reweave the seats of your chairs and need the materials to do so, please visit the suppliers on the Cane & Basket Supplies Directory™ page, since The Wicker Woman® does not sell supplies to the general public.
Not ready to do your own seatweaving? Need an expert to do the reweaving on your family heirloom or flea market finds?
Then take a look at the Furniture Repair Directory-Seatweaving section to locate an expert near you through this national directory.
Common Seatweaving Patterns and Designs
Traditional Hand Caning or Hole-to-Hole or Strand Caning
Strand or hand caning is the most well known of the seat weaving designs and patterns.
This traditional chair seat weaving method is woven by hand with individual strands of cane, through holes drilled in the perimeter of the seat, thereby creating the familiar octagon
Many different gauges of cane are used to suit the design of the chair and size of the drilled holes, but all woven in the same 7-step pattern.
The 7-step method of hand chair caning tedious and time consuming to weave, but a lovely, strong and durable pattern when completed.
There are also many other designs that can be woven through the holes, but this one has proven to be the most durable and long lasting.
Please take a look at the Free Chair Caning Instructions page if you’d like to try your hand at this rewarding craft!
Spline, Pressed, Machine Woven, Sheet, Roll, or Webbing Cane
These are all names for cane that is prewoven on a loom, forming “sheets” of cane, pressed into a “groove” and held in place with reed “spline” and glue.
This caning technique looks similar to hand caning in pattern, (and also comes in many variations), but the cane sits in a groove, rather than being woven through a series of holes in the frame.
This loom woven technique of caning and mechanized groove cutting into the chairs was invented in the 1870s, so has been around for a very long time. And although sometimes thought to be a relatively new process, it is not, and has rivaled the traditional hand chair caning in popularity.
Are all names of different fancy, intricate and advanced cane weaving designs. Since these weaves are not as durable as others, they are usually applied only to backs of Victorian chairs and rockers, rather than the seats.
All are woven using at least two different gauges of cane to complete pattern. Save these complex designs for the experts, they are not for the novice weaver!
Blind Caning, French Caning, Continental Caning
This type of chair caning is woven in the traditional 7-step method design, with regular strand cane, but the holes drilled in the framework do not go all the way through the wood.
Blind Caning is usually reserved for use in the backs or under arms of chairs rather than in the seats, because it’s a delicate weave and not very strong.
Since the holes do not go through the frame, each length of cane must be cut to the exact length needed and fixed in the holes with a plastic peg and a small spot of glue until set.
Only one step can be done at a time, so the glue can set, making this a very tedious job indeed. Leave this one to the experts!
Sometimes the backs in rockers are also woven in this pattern with this material to match the seats. The cane strands look similar to hand cane strands, but these are much wider, and woven in a different weaving pattern than traditional hole-to-hole cane.
Splints, sometimes referred to as Splits, are prepared strips of ash, oak, reed or hickory bark, woven around the seat rungs or dowels of chairs and rockers. Usually the pattern is either a herringbone twill or basketweave design.
The rush seatweaving technique uses either natural cattail leaf rush, bulrush or man-made paper fibre rush and is woven around the four seat rungs or dowels, forming four distinct triangles in the seat pattern.
Natural Rush–Museum pieces or fine old antique chairs are typically woven with bulrush or cattail leaves for authenticity, but because of the degree of difficulty in weaving, extensive time involved, and cost/availability of materials, it is quite expensive. Paper rush is used most often in newer or in chairs of lesser value.
Paper Fibre Rush is a man-made twisted paper product for use in weaving chair seats, that’s cheaper and easier to use than cattail leaves or bulrush.
Paper twist or paper rush comes in a continuous strand and is very durable, lastly considerably longer than natural rush. It’s frequently used to weave seats on Colonial style, mule-ear style and other post and rail modern chair seats, and also used in weaving wicker furniture from the 1910s-1940s.
Checkerboard seats are usually woven with Oriental seagrass, rush, or Danish Modern cord in a checkerboard pattern.
Both the stool and chair in these photographs were woven in a checkerboard pattern using Oriental seagrass.
It looks similar to lattice work fences or panels, and is found frequently on rustic, Adirondack, or cowboy style furniture.
Danish Modern–Cane or Cord
The picture on the far left shows a Danish Modern teak chair, made popular in the 1950s, with seatweaving in progress.
It’s woven with 2-ply laced Danish cord in a special basket weave design, sometimes called a checkerboard, and may be looped around special “L” shaped nails on the inside side rails.
The middle picture shows the chair weaving completed. Some chair designs incorporate a cord-woven back as well as the woven seat.
Another material frequently used in weaving Danish Modern chair seats is wide binding cane in either 4, 5 or 6 MM, woven on both the seat and back as in the picture on the right.
SEATWEAVING and WICKER REPAIR DISCUSSION BOARD FORUM — Are you a chair seat weaver and want to connect with others across the country and Internationally?
Whether you are a beginning chair seat weaver or a seasoned professional, join others in the fields of chair seating and wicker repair to discuss these nearly lost arts.
Have questions about a technique? Need to get help on a business problem? Contribute whatever you can by either posing or answering questions. You can also just plain “lurk” and learn if you wish!
We certainly hope you’ve found this Seatweaving #101 page informative and helpful today. Please come back again soon to see what changes and additions have been made on WickerWoman.com!