What Is Chair Caning: A Helpful Guide

You wonder, “what is chair caning” while sitting on your carefully crafted chair. Look no further — this article contains the answer for you! Chair caning is a form of art that uses the rattan palm’s inner skin or back to weave the seat of a chair.

In this article about chair caning, we will go beyond the description of this dying art and ask the “whys,” “hows,” and “what’s” that are related to chair caning. Read on to learn more about it!

what is chair caning


Why Is It Called Chair Cane?

Chair canes, or more broadly, caned furniture was at their peak during the Victorian era of the British empire. The practice did not start there, though. Tibetan warriors and Egyptian royalties have long practiced it before becoming popular with the British people.

Caned furniture first appeared in Holland, England, and France due to the trade with Asia. Cane was used throughout Asia and Africa, and Tibetans even used them as shields.

Caned furniture was popular in the English countries due to its superb qualities and was known to be durable, light, and resistant to dust, worms, and moths. They were hygienic and less formal, which added to their charm.

Due to the English colonies, caned furniture became more popular and widespread. Caning even became a cafe chair’s typical seat material during the mid-19th century because of Thonet.

Digressing from its history in the West, ‘cane’ is the name of the material from the rattan stalk’s outer skin. This outer skin is the material used in caned furniture, hence the term chair cane. The product where cane springs from, which is rattan, can grow up to hundreds of feet and is native to Africa and Asia but is predominantly found in Indonesia.

Nowadays, due to its high demand, people have been looking for ways to harvest rattan sustainably. Some even use synthetic materials instead of rattan to protect the environment.

Since the material used for caning is cane, the furniture made from it is called caned furniture. This is different from cane furniture, which refers to any rattan-made furniture.


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

The cost depends on the level of damage that the chair cane has. It also depends on the expertise and the rate of the professional who you want to recane a chair.

Some chair canes are considered antiques, so if you are an antique hunter and found a caned chair that can be recaned or repaired, better get a professional.

If you get it professionally done, the cost for one caned chair can reach up to $350. This is because, for every hole in an old chair cane, a professional would charge approximately $2.


How long does it take to recane a chair?

If you wish to do it yourself rather than asking a professional to recane your chair, the materials would cost up to $70. However, the recaning process is tedious.

If you do the recaning in one sitting, it may take you up to 12 hours. That is if you are already familiar with how to recane a chair.

The good thing about recaning it by yourself is that you can spread working on it over weeks. Also, remember not to use cane paneling even when you feel lazy.

Cane paneling is specifically fitted on chairs. This means that they will likely not complement your chair, and it would not be as sturdy as woven work.


What material is used for chair caning?

The material used for chair caning is rattan. The specific part used is the outer skin or bark of the rattan palm called “cane.”

There are numerous species of rattan. However, the one used for caning is under the genus Calamus Rotan, which is both durable and beautiful and ideal for weaving.


What are the caning processes?

There are different types of caning processes. The most used form is the hole-to-hole traditional hand caning. The other types of caning are spline, machine or cane webbing, and porch cane or wide binding cane.

The first one involves a pre-made sheet of rattan cane that is meant to be inserted on the chair. This sheet of rattan is then held in place with a reed spline and glue.

The second type of caning involves weaving the seats around the dowels of the chairs. True to its name (wide binding), the strips used in this type of caning are wide strips to form a double-layered weave.


What is the difference between cane and wicker?

Cane is mainly traditional and only uses rattan. It’s not treated nor painted and is woven in different patterns of webbing. It is also more durable, hence why it is commonly used for binding.

On the other hand, wicker uses various materials, including synthetic ones like resin and vinyl. It also comes in different weaves as well as varying colors. Sometimes they are done with white finishes as well.



We have reached the end of this chair caning article. Hopefully, you got to learn about what is chair caning and more because of our content.

Leave a Comment