Chair Caning & Weaving How-To

Ah, chair caning!  This was on my teenage bucket list and something I learned from my grandfather when I was in high school.  Chair weaving looked so very difficult, but I found it meditative, and calming in fact.

I purchased several antique chairs with the holes so I knew they were to be hole-to-hole caned, learned how to strip and refinish them from a friend, and would then use my grandfather’s chair caning instructions to weave beautiful seats for my antique chairs.

Chair caning supplies can be easily purchased, but I was lucky to have an excited grandfather who purchased all of my supplies.Hole to Hole Chair Caning Example

History of Chair Caning

Weaving and caning the seats of chairs is an ancient art. It has been an art for centuries! 

A daybed woven in a similar fashion to what we see today was found in King Tutankhamun’s tomb, and the daybed is dated back to 1300 BC. 

Although chair caning was an art in many parts of Europe and in the Eastern area of the world in the 1600s, it became most popular in the 1700s through the1900s. 

The materials and methods used today for chair caning and chair weaving have not changed much since that time period. Learn more about chair caning supplies and scroll down for chair caning how to tutorials!Woven Chair Example

What material is used to cane chairs?

There are several materials used in chair caning.

  • Chair cane
  • Rattan reed
  • Hand-twisted natural bulrush
  • Cattail leaves

Cane and rattan are from the same plant that grows in the rainforest, called the rattan palm. The thorns on the rattan pole are removed and shiny bark is what is known as chair cane.

Because the bark used for cane is glossy and smooth, it does not take paint or stain well.

After the glossy bark is removed, a porous and pithy inner part of the rattan palm is left.  It is what is known as reed.  Since reed is porous, it can be painted or stained, unlike the cane.

Cattail leaves can also be harvested and used to cane or weave and are easily found near ponds. Bulrush leaves are also harvested and make for excellent chair caning, but it is difficult to find.  It grows near streams and is much more difficult to harvest than cattail leaves.

Bulrush, preferred over cattail leaves for chair chaining, is hand-twisted into a roping that is used. Because it is hard to find, takes a lot of work to hand-twist, and is an advanced weaving process, it is becoming a dying art. 

These materials are often used in basket weaving as well.

What are the three types of chair caning?

The most common is the traditional hole-to-hole hand caning, which is the chair caning technique that I learned. There are many steps to this artful caning and the finished seat has small octagon patterns all over it.Hole to Hole Chair Caning - close up

Some chairs have grooves instead of holes.  For this, a pre-woven sheet of cane is cut and inserted into the groove and then secured with glue and a reed spline. This is called cane webbing.  No weaving is necessary for this technique.

The third technique for chair caning is when very wide strips of cane are woven around the seat dowels of chairs or stools.  Like the hole-to-hole caning, it is much more labor intensive than the cane webbing. This form of chair caning is called wide binding

Scroll down the page to find video and written chair caning instructions, history of chair caning, popular chair caning styles, and even instructions on how to care for caned weaving.

We hope you enjoy the many links to chair caning topics.  Try your hand at this art.  It is not difficult after a little bit of practice and makes for a beautiful finished piece of furniture of which to be proud.

Chair Caning & Weaving How-To

Supporting Products and links: Some of the links below may be affiliate links. We make a small commission on sales through the affiliate links, at no extra cost to you. Thank you in advance for your purchase and your support! Please see our full Affiliate Statement for more information.

Beginner's Guide to Chair Caning

In this blog, you'll look at popular styles, prepare the cane to use, maintain your cane chair, materials needed, and other seat options. Van Dyke's Restorers

Cane and Reed Guide

What are the differences between chair cane and rattan reed and how are they used in the construction of wicker furniture and basketry. Wicker Woman

Cane Furniture Care Information

Tips on the care and maintenance of your cane furniture. The Wicker Woman

Cane Webbing Removal

Use these simple directions to show you how to easily remove chair cane webbing. Wicker Woman

Catalog - Frank's Cane and Rush Supply

On-line catalog of supplies for chair caning, wicker repair, basketry and more. Frank's Cane and Rush Supply

Cattail Leaves Gathering

Here’s an article and a video that takes you step-by-step on your journey to gathering cattail leaves for seat weaving or basket making projects. Wicker Woman

Cattail Leaves Processing

Follow these steps to prepare and process cattail leaves for weaving chair seats and baskets. Wicker Woman

Cattail Weaving

Here is a video on how to cane a chair with cattails. NancyToday on YouTube

Chair Caning 101

Learn a little bit about the history of Chair Caning, the art and craft of this weaving technique and even how to identify and repair. The Wicker Woman

Chair Caning Instructions

A seven step method for chair caning along with advanced caning patterns. Chair Caning

Chair Caning Part 1 (Video)

A video of how to cane a chair - traditional method. Wickerguru on YouTube

Chair Caning Part 2 (Video)

Wickerguru continues the tutorial on how to cane a chair. Wickerguru on YouTube

Herringbone Weave A Chair

Check out this video if you want to learn how to weave flat wide binding cane in the Herringbone pattern in a chair seat. YouTube

Herringbone Weave Pattern

Learn how to weave a chair seat with flat reed in a herringbone pattern. Mother Earth News

How to Cane a Chair

This article is from choosing chair, to drilling holes to weaving. WikiHow

Install Chair Cane Webbing

Step-by-step instructions for how to install can webbing to repair a chair. Wicker Woman

Paint Wicker Furniture

This handy wicker furniture painting article answers the questions most often asked about How-to Paint Wicker Furniture. Wicker Woman

Paper Fibre Rush

What Is Paper Rush, Paper Wicker, Paper Rope? The Wicker Woman

Pre-woven Cane

Instructions on how to install pre-woven cane into the groove of a chair. Basket Makers Catalog

Pre-woven Chair Caning - Part 1

A video is using the pre-woven rattan method to repair a chair seat. Easy step-by-step instructions. Wickerguru on You Tube

Pre-woven Chair Caning - Part 2

This part 2 video continues the pre-woven rattan method to repair a chair seat. Easy step-by-step instructions. Wickerguru on You Tube

Press Cane Removal

This beginner DIY blogger is going to show you two ways – the Easy and Stubborn Spline Methods – to remove pressed cane from a chair! Everyday Old House

Press Cane Seat

A video on how to install a press cane seat. You Tube

Rush A Chair

To rush a chair the strands of rush are stretched across the seat and looped around the rails, moving in a counterclockwise direction, to fill in the seat. Learn this seatweaving technique. WikiHow

Rush Chair Tutorial

Video instructions on how to weave a rush seat in a ladder-back chair using fiber rush. Peerless Rattan Supplies on YouTube

Rush Seatweaving

Learn how to rush that chair seat with these how-to instructions. Wicker Woman

Rush Weaving A Chair

In this video learn how to weave a chair with paper fiber rush along learn tips and tricks for making your rush chairs look professional and not just suitable. Great for all levels of weavers. Silver River Chairs on YouTube

Seat Weaving Patterns and Designs

Pictures and information on the different types of seat weaving - hand caning, cane webbing, splint, rushes and more. The Wicker Woman

Seatweaving #101

Basic overview of a variety of seat weaving techniques including chair caning, rush, splint, Danish cord and more! Wicker Woman

Shaker Chair Tape Weaving

This blog has instructions for repairing a chair with shaker tape weaving. Shaker Workshops

Shaker Tape Seating Instructions

Online Step-By-Step Shaker Tape Weaving Instructions for chairs, rockers or stools. Basket Makers Catalog

Shaker Tape Seats PDF

From beginning to end learn how to weave Shaker tape seats. Fine Woodworking

Types of Woven Chair Seats

How-to article showing and describing the variety of woven chair seats, from different designs and patterns to materials used for weaving. The Wicker Woman

Weaving a Chair Seat

Learn how to weave a chair set with hickory bark. The Basket Maker's Catalog

Weaving a Chair Seat with Hickory Bark

Hickory bark, a traditional chair seating material, is beautiful and long-lasting. Learn how to weave a chair set with hickory bark. Basket Makers Catalog

Weaving a Ladder Back Chair Seat

Learn to weave a chair seat with this tutorial. Using flat reed is an inexpensive and strong chair seat and will last for years. Basket Makers Catalog

Profile Photo

Annette & Chris are a mother/daughter team. We've brought you craft projects and tutorials through this web site for over 20 years.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

General Crafts Shopping


Cricut Banner - No Only Cricut - Maker Gardyn - Small

Profile Photo

Annette & Chris are a mother/daughter team. We've brought you craft projects and tutorials through this web site for over 20 years.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Looking for something you cannot find on our site? Click here to e-mail the Needlepointers Information department.

Copyright ©2003 - 2019 All Rights Reserved. | Powered by w3.css

Secured by RapidSSL