What Are the Best Tips for Chair Weaving?

Kristie Lorette

Chair weaving, also known as chair caning, is the process used to create the seat and back of a chair. Some chairs use weaves as decoration or embellishment rather than a structural element of the chair. For example, material can be weaved around the legs of a chair to add d├ęcor to the chair, but is not required for the chair to function. In order to perfect chair weaving, some of the best tips for chair weaving include wetting the caning materials, weaving with the barbs, using golf tees and gluing or lacquering.

Woman painting
Woman painting

When caning a chair, it is easier to work with the caning material by soaking it in water for about five to 10 minutes before weaving the chair. Typically, caning material is a type of reed, which is a type of woody material. While working with the strips being used to weave, or cane, it is best to keep the caning material moist by using a spray bottle filled with water.

Caning strips typically have a smooth side and a rough side. It makes it easier to complete the chair weaving process if the strips are weaved using the smooth side. Pushing the smooth side of the caning strip in first makes it easier to slide the strip in initially and to weave the strip under and over, which is part of the overall weaving process. If the rough side is pushed in first, the bumps on the rough side can prohibit the caning strip from sliding in easily, and may even break or damage the strip, rendering it useless.

In addition to the caning material and chair pieces, golf tees are a tool chair weavers keep on hand during the weaving process. Golf tees make the perfect tool for holding the caning in place during the chair weaving process. Push the golf tees into the spaces between the caning strips to the strips in place while the remaining strips are weaved together to complete the chair caning process.

Applying glue or lacquer to the chair when it is complete helps to give the chair a finished look and feel. The glue or lacquer also serves as a functional material because it holds the caning strips in place and prevents the strips from moving or shifting. The glue or lacquer also strengthens the strips, which adds durability to the chair and prevents the caning material from breaking, cracking or becoming damaged in some way.

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Discussion Comments


How do I repair the weave that crisscrosses around the legs of my cane chair? What is the material I use, please?


@John57 - The weaving technique would be fundamentally the same, but obviously you would use different materials that would be handled differently (no soaking).

I know that you can replace the webbing on a lawn chair, because my mother used to do it when I was a kid. She's very handy!

She also replaced several cain chair seats. Her basic premise was that you could do pretty much anything with a book from the public library and a spirit of adventure! She did redid a few footstools and a couple kitchen chairs and they came out pretty well.


Would you use the same kind of chair weaving techniques to repair lawn chairs?

I have several lawn chairs taking up space in my garage that are in great shape except for the seats. I think you could make these as good as new by weaving new chair seats on them.

If I knew how to do this properly, I could probably get them to last a lot longer than they usually do. It seems like they fall apart pretty easily and I would love to know how to fix them myself.


This is something I have been interested in for a long time. I have seen some chair weaving instruction kits advertised in magazines, but I learn better by someone showing me how to do it instead of just reading about it.

My husband and I like to go to estate sales, and I have seen so many old, high quality chairs that just need some seat weaving repair.

If those chairs were refinished and had new seats, they would really look nice. You can buy chairs like this for next to nothing. If you know what you are doing, you can have a whole set of these chairs for a small price.

I think I need to start asking around to see if someone can give me some instruction on how to do this.


My grandparents had two old rocking chairs that needed repair. I was always interested in knowing how to do this, so figured it would be a good project.

I was fortunate enough to have a neighbor who knew how to weave chairs, so he was willing to teach me. Most people who know how to do this are more than willing to pass on their information and teach others how to do this.

The thing I found most helpful was making sure I kept the strips of wood moist. I kept a water bottle handy at all times so I could keep the pieces I was working on wet.

When you are first starting out, you are a little slow and your pieces of wood can dry out pretty quickly. Once you get the hang of it, it goes much faster and you don't have to use the spray bottle as often.

I now have these two rocking chairs on my front porch, and they look like they are sturdy enough to last for several more years.


If you are interested in learning how to cane a chair, I would recommend taking a class. Every so often I see this class offered in our local adult education class schedule.

I took this class years ago, and learned everything I needed to know about basic chair seat weaving.

There are also kits and videos you can watch online, but I found the class to be the most helpful. It really helps to have someone there who knows what they are doing to help you when you are first learning.

Once you get the basic steps down, it doesn't take very long to learn. This is something many people are no longer interested in, as they would rather throw an old chair away that needs caning instead of trying to repair it.

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