How to Recane a Chair Seat

How to Recane a Chair Seat

Some things that do not sit right with you are easy to ignore.  But it is just about impossible to ignore the discomfort of sitting on a chair that has broken or worn out canes.  When your seat canes are damaged, the pillow will start to push through the seat frame and the chair can start to pinch quite a lot.  But don’t throw out your beautiful chair just yet.  We are going to teach you how to recane a chair seat yourself using simple tools you probably already have at home.

What Is Chair Caning?

Chair caning is a very specific task that involves applying a rattan cane to the base or back of a chair. There are different types of cane furniture. A lot of different patterns or weaving techniques can be used to cane a chair.
You can still find cane chairs available to buy. These materials are popular for making zero gravity chair for tall man.  The materials are tough enough to handle outdoor temperatures and natural elements.

What is cane?

Cane is a part of the rattan plant.  This material is made by peeling the skin from rattan vines.  These strips are then wrapped around a frame to create a beautiful piece of furniture or it is weaved through furniture to create a base to sit on.
Cane is a popular weaving material because it is less porous and doesn’t absorb liquids or spills.  The strips are also very strong and it is a 100% environmentally friendly product.

What are the types of chair caning?

Cane can be woven in all sorts of patterns to create a beautiful chair seat or back. The three most popular cane patterns are the following;

Hole-to-hole cane, hand caning, or lace caning

With this type of cane, individual strands are hand-woven through drilled holes around the chair seat or back frame. This is now considered the old way of making cane furniture because weaving takes a lot longer than webbing does.

Pressed cane, spline cane, or cane webbing

With this type of caning, a machine woven cane sheet is softly hammered into a groove of the chair seat or back. The sheet is then held in place with a reed spline. This method is much faster than weaving cane materials over or through the chair holes or sides.

Porch cane, wide binding cane, or binder cane

With porch caning, the strands are woven around the seat top and bottom or sides instead of through holes in the frame. Diamond patterns are usually used with this type of pattern.  It is called porch cane because a lot of porch chairs are made using this technique. This weaving pattern and the material were also popular for making rocking chairs.  Rocking chairs also used to be very popular for porch seating.

Let’s Learn How to Recane A Chair Seat

Don’t just sit here… let’s get started.  It is easier to recane a chair that has grooves in the frame than those with holes in the frame.  The ones with holes in the frame need to be carefully woven to create a beautiful pattern and to be strong enough.  This weaving pattern is complex and takes a long time.  Here is a quick look at a good tutorial video to help you recane a weaved seat.

To recane a chair with grooves, you will need the following items:

  • Cane sheets (12 – 24 inches wide)
  • Caning spline (Get the exact width and length for your project)
  • Caning wedgesHow to Recane a Chair Seat
  • Screwdriver
  • Hammer
  • Utility knife
  • Carpenters glue
  • Fine sandpaper
  • Spray lacquer

Here is a quick look at the best steps for recaning a chair with a groove.

Step 1How to Recane a Chair Seat Step 1

First, you need to cut the cane sheet. It should extend the size of your chair seat grooves by 1 inch on all sides. Be careful not to cut your fingers. Cane materials might need quite a bit of effort to cut.


Step 2 How to Recane a Chair Seat Step 2

Soak the cut sheets in hot water for an hour. This makes the caning material softer and easier to work with, especially since the edges need to be bent over to fit inside the groove.


Step 3 How to Recane a Chair Seat Step 3

Grab your chair and cut around the edges of the old spline on the chair. Break the bond of old glue and lift the old cane from the groove.


Step 4 How to Recane a Chair Seat Step 4

Use your screwdriver to raise the edges of the old spline. Be careful not to cause damage to your chair’s groove lines. If the grooves are damaged, your new cane won’t fit properly.


Step 5 How to Recane a Chair Seat Step 5

You can now pull out the old spline and cane sheet. Set these aside or throw them away if you are not planning on repurposing these materials.



Step 6How to Recane a Chair Seat Step 6

Place the softened cane on your chair. Be careful to put it straight so there will be a 1-inch overlap on all sides.


Step 7 How to Recane a Chair Seat Step 7

Hammer a caning wedge through the groove on each side of the chair. This will keep the cane from moving around as you work.  Your woven pattern should run across and up the seat and not diagonal.

Step 8

How to Recane a Chair Seat Step 8

Add more wedges on the sides of the cane. Now start to push the cane into the groove. Take care to keep the pattern straight and to maintain the same stretch across your surface.


Step 9

Soak your caning spline in hot water for 15 minutes so it will soften. This will make the spline much easier to work with.

Step 10How to Recane a Chair Seat Step 10

Put carpenters glue into the chair grooves. Now press the soft spine in the grooves so the cane pushes into the groove with it. Remove the wedges as you work your way around the chair.

You should push it down hard and use your hammer to tap the spline into the groove.

Step 11How to Recane a Chair Seat Step 11

Grab your utility knife and trim the excess cane off the sides of the splice. Be careful not to cut your fingers when you are cutting off the cane materials. If you don’t cut off the excess materials, the weary edges will be visible through the chair’s surface.

Step 12

Take your sandpaper and sand down the edges of the cane so there will be no sharp points to harm you.

Step 13How to Recane a Chair Seat step 13

You can now take your lacquer and spray the entire cane. Be careful to add an even layer across your cane surface.



It is important to let your cane sit for a few days before you use it or before you add any weight to it. During this time, the glue and lacquer will fully dry and the cane sheet will conform to your chair’s design.

You can now give yourself a pat on the shoulder. You just recanted your very first chair. For a bigger challenge, you should learn how to weave a cane seat so you can repair all of those old chairs that have holes drilled along their frames.

Final Thoughts

It might be challenging to learn how to recane a chair seat, but it is worth your efforts if it means you can restore an antique chair to its former glory. If you do decide to replace your old broken chairs with new chairs then you should have a look at some of our other guides. We compare a wide range of chair types in our other buying guides. You can find the best recliner for sleeping after surgery, the best living room chair for neck pain, the best ergonomic chair for watching tv, and many others.

Thank you for reading our guide. We would love it if you could reach out and give us a shout if this guide helped you fix your old chair.

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