Cane Seating On Furniture...What Is It & Where Is It From?

You've seen it before and weren't sure what to call it or how it's done. Find out all about caned furniture, what is is, how it's done and where it comes from.



Cane is the generic term for the hard outer bark of the Rattan palm (see picture), which is a spiny climbing palm of the genus Calamus.  There are over two hundred known species of rattan palms, ranging over a wide area of tropic and sub-tropic areas; Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines being the chief exporters. After harvesting, the palm is cut into poles and dried (see picture). This outer bark or cane peel is cut into thin strips in different widths (see picture) that have confusing names like carriage, common, fine fine, etc.  The most common weave is a seven-step pattern that creates octagon shapes across the seat.  Seats that have been hand woven have holes around the perimeter and if you look under the seat you can see how the cane is looped and tied on. If the seat has a groove around the edge instead of holes the seat is made of pre-woven “machine-made” cane webbing (see picture). It’s a subtle difference but I think the hand woven seat is a better look.


Traditional hand caning is the time-honored art of weaving strands of cane into a durable and beautiful seat or back for a chair and other furniture items. The traditional seven-step weaving method produces the familiar eight-sided holes which give a cane seat its distinctive look (see picture of hand weaving). You will generally find older and antique furniture having hand-woven caning, though sometimes it has been converted to fit a pre-woven machine cane insert. Look at the picture of a machine woven cane seat. Notice the “spline-filled” groove around the perimeter. This is the quickest way to tell if a chair seat is machine caned or hand caned.

There are many uses of cane in furniture design. I have seen it not only on chair seats and backs, but on whole loveseats, chaise lounges, tables and floor screens.

Try to see if you can notice the difference next time you look at furniture both old and new. You may even see that some of the new imported furniture uses a plastic material to look like cane!

When you find that you need the cane on your furniture replaced, please call Oakley Restoration at 860-350-6410 to inquire as we offer this service along with many other types of furniture repair and refinishing. “Let us bring back the beauty to all your cherished furniture.”

Visit our website at: www.OakleyRestoration.com and become a fan on FaceBook at: https://www.facebook.com/#!/OakleyFurnitureRestoration

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This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Cathy Bedini February 10, 2012 at 03:10 AM
Would you believe my mother in law learned this skill and has been caning an old chair seat.
Bill Oakley February 11, 2012 at 02:49 PM
That's great! It's hard to find capable people today who can do this work...it's a "dying art" I'm sorry to say.


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