How to Repair a Wicker Rocker

Wicker rocking chairs have been popular since the Victorian era and are most often identified with whiling away the day in the shade of your front porch.

Old wicker chairs often need to be mended.Old wicker chairs often need to be mended.
Wicker chairs can withstand years of hard wear but eventually they will need some tender loving care. Repairing a wicker chair that is beginning to show its age is easy if the damage is not too extensive. With a few supplies and a little time, you can restore your rocking chair to its former beauty and usefulness.

Photograph the wicker rocker from all angles to assess the damage. The pictures will also help you to replicate the pattern you are patching.

Mend cracks. Wicker cracks when it dries out. Use a paintbrush to apply boiled linseed oil or tung oil to hydrate the wicker. Cover all the cracks. Allow the oil to dry until it has soaked into the wicker. Wipe away any oil that remains on the surface. Let your chair dry for 24 hours.

Fix the weave. Place wet cloths on the portion of wicker you will be repairing. This makes the wicker pliable and helps prevent the weave from cracking. Keep wet cloths on the wicker until it is bendable. Carefully manipulate the reeds that have moved out of place back into their correct locations to restore the pattern of the wicker. Keep the wicker damp with wet cloths while you are working with it.

Repair a hole. Soak a new, replacement reed in water until it is flexible and easy to bend. Wet the broken reeds and remove them from the chair. Measure the reeds you are going to replace. Cut the replacement reeds 2 or 3 inches longer. Weave the new reed into place, being sure to keep to the established pattern. Weave one reed at a time. Let the chair dry for 24 hours.

Turn the chair upside down. Inspect the rockers for cracks. If the crack is small, fill it with wood filler and let it dry. Sand it smooth with medium grade sandpaper. If the split is larger and deeper, fill it with wood glue. Wipe off any extra with a damp cloth. Push the pieces together and clamp them. Allow to dry for 24 hours. Remove the clamp. Sand the rocker smooth.

Paint the chair. Vacuum the chair on all sides to remove dirt and old paint particles. Wipe it with a damp cloth. Spray the chair with paint, or brush on paint. Be sure to cover all the nooks and crannies. Apply more than one thin coat rather than a single thick coat which will drip. Allow the paint to dry thoroughly between coats.

Things You Will Need

  • Camera
  • Paintbrush
  • Boiled linseed oil
  • Clean cloths
  • Reed
  • Wood filler
  • Sandpaper
  • Wood glue
  • Clamp
  • Spray paint


  • Badly damaged wicker chairs or those with extremely intricate designs should be repaired by an expert.
  • If the rockers on your chair need to be replaced, a skilled carpenter or woodworker should do the job.


  • Always paint in a well-ventilated area.
  • Sitting on a wicker chair while it is still wet can cause it become misshapen.

About the Author

Jan Czech has been writing professionally since 1993. Czech has published seven children's books, including “The Coffee Can Kid," which received a starred review from School Library Journal. She is a certified English/language arts teacher and holds a Bachelor of Arts in education from Niagara University.