Cane Webbing Chair Seat

Cane Webbing Chair Seat instructions

The Basket Maker's Catalog

Cane Webbing comes in many different styles and sizes. It is sold by the running foot and is available in 18 inch and 24 inch widths. The Reed Spline size is determined by the width of your groove and is sold by the foot. See our On-line Store for your Cane Webbing and Reed Spline choices.

Open Cane Webbing Close Cane Webbing
Open Cane Webbing Close Woven Webbing
Open Cane Webbing Reed Spline
Radio Weave Reed Spline

Chair with Groove around opening

If your chair has a groove around the seat opening, then choose Cane Webbing for replacing the seat.

When using open cane webbing, determine the style (size) needed by measuring your old piece of cane from the center of one hole to the center of the next hole.

Note: Fine Open 1/2" Mesh is the most popular size of Cane Webbing and is the size used in these instructions.

What size is my Open Cane Webbing and How Many Feet Do I need?


What size of Reed Spline Do I need?


Cane webbing tools and materials.

You will need the following:

Cane Webbing (Measure groove to groove + 4 inches) Reed Spline (circumference of groove + 1 foot)
Caning Chisel to remove old Spline Glue
Caning Wedges Scissors
Shears Straight Chisel
Razor Knife Spring type Clothespin
Fine Sandpaper  

Wet the old spline

Step 1. Soak cane webbing for 1 to 2 hours in hot water.

Step 2. Wet the old spline. I used a wet paper towel. The water will soften the old spline and glue and make it easier to remove.


Wipe off excess water

Wipe any excess water from the chair.


chisel old spline

Step 3. Clean out groove in chair with a caning chisel (or any small chisel). You may have to re-wet the spline many times as you chisel.


Sand inside edge

Note: I am now using another chair for these instructions. This chair has a groove with rounded corners, the chair in Step 3 has corners that meet at a right angle. See Note following Step 15 for square cornered chairs seats.

Step 4. Once the groove is completely clean, gently sand the inside edge of your opening with fine sandpaper. You want the edge to be slightly rounded.


Sand inside edge of groove

Also sand the inside edge of the groove. A sharp edge may cut the cane webbing so a slightly rounded edge is preferred.


3 inch pieces of spline and caning wedges

Step 5. Cut 4 pieces 3" long from your reed spline or you may use caning wedges.


Check for brittleness

Step 6. Check your wet cane webbing to see if it is flexible. If necessary, continue soaking the cane until it is flexible.


Secure webbing with spline

Step 7. Stretch the webbing across the opening and center it over the opening (shiny side of cane webbing up). Using the back of a clothespin, gently push some of the webbing into the groove on the front of the seat and temporarily hold in place with a 3" piece of reed spline (or wedge).

See tips below for pushing the cane webbing into the groove.


Webbing secured front and back

Push webbing into groove and secure with 3" piece of spline at the center front and back.


Gently push the webbing into the groove

Tip: As you push the cane webbing into the groove with the clothespin, lift the cane webbing that is outside the groove and push it down into the groove. Work small sections at a time and little by little the cane can be pushed down into the groove.

Take care that you do not break the cane. If you do break a few strands, do not panic, the glue and spline will most likely hold the broken ends in place.


Unweave corners

Step 8. Remove strands of cane along the corners if those strands lay past the groove.


Using a caning wedge

You may also use a caning wedge to help gently push the cane into the groove and to hold the cane in place.


Webbing secured with scrap spline

Step 9. Push the cane webbing into the groove on each side of the seat and secure with a 3" piece of spline.

Your webbing should now be stretched across the opening and held in place with the scrap pieces of spline.

Check that the cane webbing is centered and that the strands run as straight as possible from the front to back and side to side.


Webbing tucked into groove

Step 10. Continue to gently push the webbing into the groove of your chair around the entire seat. The webbing should be all the way in the groove and sticking up on the outside edge of the groove.

(Notice I had to trim and unweave the cane webbing at the corners so I could tuck it into the groove.)


Cut webbing with straight chisel

Step 11. With a straight chisel or razor knife, cut the webbing just below the top of the groove on the outside edge.

Remove the 3" long pieces of spline from your chair as you work your way around the seat.


Razor knife cutting webbing

The razor knife came in handy for cutting the cane webbing in the corners.


Webbing is now trimmed

The webbing should now be all the way in the groove, across the bottom of the groove, bending up the outside edge and cut just below the top of the groove.


Check spline

Step 11. Check your spline and if it's brittle, soak in hot water until pliable - about 10 minutes.

Note: The spline in the photo was dry yet pliable enough to make the bend needed. I did not soak this spline. Since the groove was 3/16" wide, I used #8 spline.

Item # Description Width of Groove
RS70F # 7 Spline 5/32"
RS75F # 7.5 Spline 11/64"
RS80F # 8 Spline 3/16"
RS90F # 9 Spline 7/32"
RS95F # 9.5 Spline 1/4"

Put glue in groove

Step 12. Put Elmer's Glue-All into the groove around the entire seat.

We use a water soluble glue. If in the far distant future the chair needs a new seat, the spline should be easy to remove after soaking - see Step 2.

For canoe seats use a water proof glue. Follow the manufacturer's recommendations for drying times, etc.


Hammer spline into groove

Step 13. Put the spline into the groove. The spline is tapered and the rounded (wider) side should face "up". Start in the middle at the back of your chair seat. (See Note following Step 15 for square cornered chair seats.)

You may have to use a hammer to get your spline in place. Place a board on your spline and tap the board not the spline.

Work the spline around the groove tapping as you go.

The top of the spline should be flush or slightly higher than the cane webbing.


Cut spline to fit

Step 14. With your shears, cut the spline so the ends meet and press into the groove.


Wipe off excess glue

Step 15. Wipe away any excess glue with a damp cloth.

Allow seat to dry thoroughly - about 24 hours.

The seat will tighten as it dries.


Spline meets at a right angle

Step 15 continued.... Note: If your chair has corners that meet at a right angle, use four pieces of spline and simply cut each piece at an angle at the corner.


Finished chair seat with cane webbing

Congratulations - you are finished.

Your new chair seat should give you years of service and enjoyment.


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