How to Cane a Chair for Beginners

Add an old-fashioned elegance to your home or patio with chairs made from bamboo or sugar cane. Caned in an open weave, they provide a springy, air-cooled seat and/or back. Wood frames for the cane sections have holes on the rails (sides), which caners use to weave the cane strips into intricate patterns. With use and age, caned chairs dry out and canes break, so re-caning is necessary. Even beginners can accomplish this task by following a few basic steps.

Vertical, Horizontal and Diagonal Rows

Cane chairs are made by weaving strips of bamboo or sugar cane.
  1. Feed cane from bottom up through the back middle hole of a chair seat. Leave a tail several inches long and peg it in place with a golf tee. Feed the cane down through the front center hole on the chair seat, keeping the cane loose. Pull cane up through the next hole to the right in front and down through the opposite back hole. Continue threading the cane through holes toward the right, to the last rail holes. Work with a loose cane, but snug it tight every 4 to 6 holes. Use a second cane to weave vertical strips through holes to the left of the center hole to complete the seat. Use new canes as necessary and peg loose ends with a golf tee.

  2. Run a cane horizontally up through the upper right hole and down through the upper left hole, running it over the vertical canes. Keep threading toward the front holes. Straighten canes with golf tees. Tie off all the loose ends from the bottom. Pull the cane tight, then circle the loose end under a nearby cane loop. Do this twice, threading the second loop under the first, and pull them tight. Trim any excess cane ends to 1/4 inch. If there are two ends in one hole, tie them off together.

  3. Start a second vertical row in the upper left corner. Loop the second vertical cane through the same holes as the first layer.

    Weave the cane over and under the horizontal layers, keeping it to the right of the first vertical cane strips. Keep the cane very loose for 4 to 6 loops before pulling tight.

  4. Weave a diagonal cane up through the upper right corner hole and down through the lower left front hole. Loop the first diagonal cane through holes toward the back left, weaving over vertical canes and under horizontal ones. Weave a second cane toward the right front to complete the first diagonal layer. Start a second diagonal layer at the upper left corner hole and run it down through the lower right corner hole. Weave the cane diagonally under the vertical canes and over the horizontal ones. Start with the rear right half, then the front half. Keep canes straight with golf tees.

  5. Finish the weave by looping a round cane around the border. Start at the back rail and insert each end of the border cane into a corner hole. Lay it flat along the line of holes. Run a regular cane up a back hole. Loop it over the border cane, then back down the same hole to hold it in place. Repeat at each hole. Snug the regular cane tight after 4 to 6 holes. Feed border cane ends down each corner hole and hold in place with a golf tee. Skip the corner holes with the regular cane. Peg the canes in the corner holes with a wooden peg that fits snugly into the hole. Apply glue first to make a tight seal to finish the weave.