SEAT WEAVING

 

CANING

Caned chairs probably came to England at the time of Charles II through his wife Catherine of Braganza from Portugal. The cane via the Portugese trading routes. These early chairs were very coarse caned and early in Charles reign they developed finer and more detailed weaving techniques.

London became a centre for Continental craftsmen to meet the demands for the new fashionable hygenic furniture (nowhere for the plague carrying fleas to hide). As an added and much appreciated bonus they offered far more in the way of comfort than the common chairs in use at that time made from solid slabs of wood. Cane furniture has been popular to a greater or lesser degree since then.


Both Chippendale and Sheraton being advocates of the material in the drawing room. By 1850 there was a massive revival, especially of lightweight bent wood chairs, mass produced in Vienna, which could be sent flat packed and then assembled on delivery. These were shown at the Great Exhibition of 1851 and could be found in Victorian homes, shops, restaurants and as far afield as America and Australia. During the period between the 1st and 2nd World Wars the art of chair caning was almost lost and many chair seats and backs were covered with hardboard or upholstered.


 
Now in the 21st Century there is renewed interest in caned furniture and restoring old pieces to their former glory. The cane used is from the Rattan cane family and is imported into the UK from Malaysia and Singapore.  Rattan is a creeper which grows to a magnificent length of 400’-500’ spiralling around trees and finally reaching the canopy by means of vicious spiny tendrils climbing towards the sunlight in the hot steamy forests. This is cut and dragged down by natives, stripping it of its spiny outer layer to reveal the glossy silicon covered cane. This shiny outer layer is stripped, cut and graded into the different sizes and qualities which are used to cane our chairs. The pith in the centre - known as centre cane - is cut into small pieces carved individually to plug the holes when finishing a seat.

Having your old chairs re-seated will give them a new lease of life and many hours of comfortable sitting for you. We offer a full seat weaving and chair caning service. A damaged seat will cause a chairs joints to become loose making it rickety and unstable, even liable to fall apart. By having your chair re-seated, the seat being an intrinsic part of its strength and stability, it will stand firm and give good service once again.

 

SEA GRASS and KAMBAA WOVEN SEATS

Good hardwearing alternatives to rush.


Sea Grass is made in China and the Far East from hardy coarse grasses. These are harvested and then twisted by machines into a long and continuous cord. Sea Grass can be woven in the traditional rush pattern and in a wide variety of basket weaves, diagonals and chevrons. It is an excellent alternative to rush used on traditional ladder back chairs and the paper cord and paper rush used on Scandinavian furniture.


Kambaa is dwarf palm indigenous to Tanzania and is a Fair Trade product from that country.  It has been in use for centuries as a material for furniture, roofs, hammocks and baskets. The leave are cut by the men and then woven by local women in a continuous plaited length by hand. This plaiting is carried out during the six month drought which is experienced every year in Tanzania. Kambaa is a highly versatile material which can be woven into many interesting patterns -chequer board, chevrons, basket weave diagonals and many more. Kambaa makes a very comfortable seat and is highly appropriate for traditional ladderback chairs as well as modern furniture.


These two materials have excellent seat weaving properties and are highly durable. They are easily wiped over to keep them clean, are free from dust and are therefore particularly suitable in the homes of asthma sufferers. Both have a pleasant natural goldish green colour which gently mellows with age and an appealing smell of new mown hay when freshly woven. Chairs that have previously been woven with rush or paper cord can easily be seated with Kambaa or Sea Grass in a traditional or contemporary pattern.

 

Recycle your old chairs for a new lease of life with a freshly woven seat  treewright@mac.com

How to proceed...

If you would like to have your chairs re-caned or woven with Kambaa or Sea Grass contact us for a guide price. Email or post us a good, clear photograph of your furniture for repair with dimensions ie. width and depth of seat. Carriage charges will be notified when we know the size/weight and your location. Alternatively you are welcome to bring your furniture to our workshop by appointment.


Give your chair a new lease of life with a beautifully and expertly caned or woven seat. Products used are rattan cane, seagrass and kambaa. We also undertake stools, chairbacks, screens, sofas, panels and headboards. If you would like to have your chairs re-caned or woven with Kambaa or Sea Grass contact us for a guide price.

treewright@mac.com