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What is Cane? What Type of Cane Chair do I Have? (Photos Included)

Posted by Webmaster on April 4, 2020 at 11:40 AM

What is Cane? 

Cane is the term for the material that comes from the outer skin of the rattan stalk. Rattan is a climbing vine-like plant native to Asia and Africa, it is most commonly found in Indonesia. Rattan grows in strong, solid stalks and can grow hundreds of feet high. Cane is the skin of the rattan plant, it is durable and flexible, the top of cane is glossy and non-porous. The back of cane is the porus side. The material is called cane, the process of weaving cane is called caning, and the finished product is called caned furniture. Some people refer to cane as rattan or wicker. Regardless of what you call cane the finished product is lovely.

 If I had to pull a number out of my head I would say that 95 percent of cane furniture is individual strands of cane woven into the holes of the furniture frame using the traditional seven step method.

 Sometimes it is difficult to determine what type of caning is on a piece of furniture when the cane material is still in place. Once the material has been removed it is much easier to see there are holes that go all the way through the furniture frame. If the cane material is still in place simply flip the piece over to see if the holes are on the underside or on the back of the frame. If there aren’t any holes on the back or the underside the piece of furniture is very likely to be pre-woven cane. There is a possibility however that there is a thin strip of wood hiding a grove where the cane loops around. If there aren’t any holes or the thin strip of wood then the piece is French or blind caned. I’ll explain that later in this post so scroll down or read through.


Hand Woven Cane – Traditional Seven Step Method

So if the holes go through the frame of the chair or settee and looks like the photo below then you have a hand caned piece woven in the standard pattern.

 Other names used for hand caning include strand cane, lace caning, traditional caning, hole to hole caning and natural strand caning.


Pre-Woven Cane ;

Pre-woven sheet cane is set into a routed out groove on the top side of chair, held in place with a reed spline, no holes drilled in framework. This material comes in large rolls in different patterns and gauges. The most common patterns are the standard pattern which is the same as the hand woven cane and a pattern called radio weave. Photo below.

 Other names for Pre-woven cane include cane webbing, pressed cane, pressed-in cane, machine cane, sheet cane and spline cane.



Binding Cane / Rattan Weaving ;

Binding cane sometimes referred to as rattan is used to weave Danish Mid Century Modern furniture. Examples being magazine shelves on teak tables, Hans Olsen rocking chairs, the backs of settees, the joins of pod chairs and what people often refer to as wicker chairs.


Blind Hand Cane / French Cane & Double Sided Cane

These all go together because blind caning or French caning is when the holes of a hand caned chair do not go all the way through the chair frame. Each individual strand of cane is cut to size, woven and then glued into the holes. Holes are then pegged to provide the finished piece.

 Double Sided Caning is when both sides of the chair or settee frame is caned. Double caned surfaces are also usually blind caned as well.


Hand Caned Medallions Hanging or Fixed woven in the Stannard Seven step Method, the Sunshine, Sunrise or Sunset Pattern

Caned pieces with hanging medallions are woven in the sunshine pattern as the medallion is a separate piece which is support when woven into the piece with cane in either the standard seven step method or the sunshine method.

 Medallions can also be fixed at the bottom or the top of the frame or multiple panels within a frame. If the medallion is at the bottom then the piece is woven in sunrise pattern. The rising sun pattern forms a sun ray with tight holes at the bottom of the ray and wider spaced holes along the sides and top of the ray.

 If the fixed medallion is at the top of the frame or the panel then the cane is woven in the sunset pattern. These pieces are often blind caned or French caned as well.


Laurie Blake

Caning Canada


Categories: Cane Chair Repair, Caning Canada

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