The things I didn’t know about Antique Chairs and should have: As an Interior Designer we get to work with assorted pieces of furniture.
Occasionally we see an heirloom that needs repair. Who knew that an antique chair could be so educational? While I ventured down the rabbit hole of Internet Demise I learned that there are 3 forms of caning. Also duly noted, was that the particular style that I required for this precious chair, French Caning, is very rare and there are only two places in the metropolitan area that still do this craft.
I have to thank Martha Stewart for her blog. (https://www.themarthablog.com/2018/11/caning-two-of-my-antique-chairs.html) pointing me in the direction of the last craftsman in NY, Yorkville Caning in Woodside. This little shop is the most humble, idyllic, repair space if you need quality and someone who cares. I feel I should share my recent knowledge so that you don’t get swindled and lose value on Grandmas Dining set.
Machine Caning- As stated in it’s name, this cane is made by machinery and glued to the corner of the frame. Often, there is a small welt overlaid so that you can’t see the loose ends or “cuts”.
Notable mark: The Welting.
Hand Caning- All caning is done by hand or on a machine called a loom and the edges are pushed into holes in the front of the chair and held by small pins that look like Golf Tees. This is much more time consuming than a glue install.
French Caning- Also done by hand but the cane is pushed into the wood and pulled through the back. If you look at this chair back, you can see small holes where the cane is pushed through and held with a small “pin”. This is a time-honored tradition and clearly not done everywhere.
As you can see from the photos, each technique has a very different look, and if not done correctly, can diminish the value of your antique. Use a trusted professional to source your repair.