Chairished Furnishings
Chairished Furnishings
  • Hometalker
  • Portland, OR

How to Replace Brittle Cane Seats With Jute Webbing

4 Materials
$40
5 Hours

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.
One of the original chairs
One of the original 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.
Lifting out the leather tacks
Lifting out the leather tacks
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.
Lifting out the small tacks
Lifting out the small tacks
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.
Sunken and brittle cane seat
Sunken and brittle cane seat
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
Cutting the edge of the brittle cane
Cutting the edge of the brittle cane
Every loop must be cut in order to remove the cane.
All 6 chairs with cane removed
All 6 chairs with cane removed
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
Setting in the first strap of jute webbing
Setting in the first strap of jute webbing
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.
Stretching the jute taut
Stretching the jute taut
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.
Weaving in the jute straps
Weaving in the jute straps
The last two straps were woven through the first two straps. This is for uniform tension and stability.
how to replace brittle cane seats with jute webbing, how to
All chairs complete with new jute seat platform
Re-used existing padding and new seat cover
Re-used existing padding and new seat cover
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 :/
how to replace brittle cane seats with jute webbing, how to
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 :)

Suggested materials:

  • Suede  (Customer delivered)
  • Brass Tacks  (eBay)
  • Cotton Batting  (OnlineFabricStore.com)
See all materials

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Have a question about this project?

1 question
  • Jbu7265813
    on Nov 17, 2016

    What Stapler Brand and what size staples do you use? T.Y.

    • Chairished Furnishings
      on Nov 17, 2016

      It's a very inexpensive Surebonder. I used 3/8" staples. We have a large air tank under the house that we access through the garage (my husband plumbed the fitting through the wall from the crawl space.). A pneumatic stapler is a must for me since I have mild arthritis. I'd never be able to use a stapler that was not either pneumatic or electric

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