Does your bentwood chair need a new cane seat?
Is there a replacement seat already caned that can be purchased and quickly installed on your antique bentwood chair? Sorry, I’m afraid not. At least none that I’m aware of.
If your cane seat needs to be replaced, here’s a quick overview of what may be entailed.
As a whole, the chair must be sturdy and stable – it’s not just about replacing the seat.
Bentwood chairs like the one seen on this page are easily tightened – as long as nothing is broken. Glue is only required at the top of the front legs. All the other joints are connected with screws (original).
Hand cane or cane webbing
Before replacing the cane seat, you need to determine whether it is hand cane or cane webbing. Hand cane is woven strand by strand, and goes through holes in the wooden frame. If you turn the chair over and see the cane coming through the bottom of the frame – the seat is hand cane. Cane webbing is identified by the spline around the perimeter. This holds the cane in place.
Note on conversions
Antique bentwood chairs originally had hand cane seats. However, many have been converted from hand cane to cane webbing. This is typically done for two reasons – time and money. Replacing a seat with cane webbing is much quicker and therefore less expensive. Conversions like this are not preformed at our shop, simply because it weakens the frame of the seat and is difficult to reverse
The bentwood chair seen on this page was previously converted from having a hand cane seat to a seat with cane webbing. It was easy to spot because on top it had the spline around the edge, and underneath, the original holes in the frame (for hand caning) could be seen.
Replace the cane seat
The hardest part in replacing cane webbing is removing the spline and cleaning out the groove. Once that’s done, a pre-woven sheet of cane is cut to fit, positioned, and installed with new spline.
Make the new look old
To give an aged look, the cane seat gets colored. This is an important step for antique furniture. Although the seat is new, we do this to match what was existing and/or to match the chair to others if part of a set.