How to Replace Brittle Cane Seats With Jute Webbing
These chairs were brought to me by a woman I met at a flea market over the summer. She saw some of my work and took my card, as she'd been looking for someone to repair her mother's antique dining chairs.
At some point, the original cane had failed and the chairs were padded with hay and cotton batting, then covered in leather. The edges were tacked with small tacks first and then leather capped tacks were added for a finished look.
I wish I could have found tacks like these. They were really neat, as the caps were made of leather. I carefully lifted each tack out with my diagonal pliers.
The smaller tacks took more force to remove. I have an upholstery tack puller that I tap on the heel of the hand with a rubber mallet to get under the tack head so it can be lifted out.
This is not the worst example of some of the cane seats but you can see where it is sagging. Since these chairs were hand-tied, I needed to cut out all the edges along side of the holes to begin pulling the cane out from the bottom side. Think of a knitting loom here... with many loops of cane threaded in and out of holes spaced about 3/4" apart all around the edges
Every loop must be cut in order to remove the cane.
I did everything in an assembly line fashion for efficiency. Here I have all my tools out that I'll need to complete the repairs
Each seat will get four straps of jute webbing; two in each direction, then interwoven in a 'basket' weave. For each strap, I folded over the first edge of the jute and stapled several times.
I used a fabric stretcher to pull the jute very taut across the chair seat, then stapled into place. I then folded the jute back over the staples and stapled again to keep the strap from fraying.
The last two straps were woven through the first two straps. This is for uniform tension and stability.
All chairs complete with new jute seat platform
This is the first completed chair after all the padding was replaced and the new suede tacked on with new brass tacks. The edges of the ultrasuede needed to be turned under for a more finished/polished look. I ended up re-positioning the tacks and suede on this seat because one corner was driving me nuts with its imperfection :/
Completed set of chairs. My client was very happy and was surprised to have her chairs back so quickly. She dropped them off on a Sunday afternoon and they were ready to be picked up the following Saturday. I was able to complete the entire set of chairs in about 5 hours. Most of that time was spent cutting out cane :)
- Suede (Customer delivered)
- Brass Tacks (eBay)
- Cotton Batting (OnlineFabricStore.com)
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