How did you get started in the chair caning business?
Fri Mar 7, 2014 8:10am

How did ya'll get into this wonderful craft/business of chair caning, anyway? Please post your story.

Most of you already know my entry into the field, but I'll post it again here anyway for those of you that don't.

I got into this chair caning business when my first born was just a few months old, in 1975. My mother-in-law suggested that I needed something besides caring for the baby to keep me busy, can you believe that?

She also knew that I had an interest in antique furniture, and had done quite a bit of chair caning and upholstery herself. So when she decided that she wanted her rush seat chair woven and didn't want to do it herself, she pawned the job onto me.

MIL brought over the post and rail chair, the #4 paper fibre (which turned out to be too small, but who knew?), and an article from a magazine telling just how to weave a paper rush chair seat!

So to please my mother-in-law, I read up on the technique and proceeded to weave the chair seat while my infant son took his naps.

OMG was that first attempt ever horrible, but MIL loved it and traded me an antique, round, walnut drop-leaf table with five legs with porcelain casters in lieu of money for doing the job. And you know what? We still have and use that table every day, over 40 years later!

MIL still has the little black rush chair too, and has never allowed me to reweave it, but instead keeps it as a record of my very first hand-woven chair seat!

Whenever I teach paper rush seatweaving classes, I try to remember to take it along so students can compare their first attempts with mine. Course, I was doing mine alone, following directions in a magazine, whereas they were getting one-on-one experience with an instructor.

So there's the "HOW" story and the "WHY" continues to be that I love, love, love my business. Following my passion makes the journey of life and work all worthwhile, then too, satisfaction and joy are every day occurrences!

What's YOUR story? Care to Share with us?

The Wicker Woman®--Cathryn Peters

    • Re: How did you get started...? Mr. Stafford, Thu Aug 10 9:44pm
      Hello all, My name is Mr. Stafford and I fell into my first chair caning project about four years ago. I had been a woodworker and professional musician for about 25 years and I had just started to... more
      • how did you get started? ediezalas, Fri Aug 11 9:13am
        First off I am one of those people that when I see some handiwork or artwork the first thing I think isn't 'how much is it' it's 'how did they do that and can I do it too?' That being said, I had a... more
      • How did you all get started? jbmeltzer, Fri Aug 11 8:43am
        I was teaching macrame (remember that?) at a local art center, and someone else was teaching caning. We traded skills, and I was off and running! Beyond that, I am self-taught, mostly by using Jim... more
      • How I got started Anderson's Restorations-Rob, Fri Aug 11 7:08am
        I used to have a refinishing business and a real nice older gentleman did my caning for me. One day his wife called that he passed and did I want his material. I had just taken in 4 chairs so I said... more
    • Picture with me, a cold, snowy January Saturday in 1975 ( 3 months after discharge from the US Army). Barbara and I have just completed the 2 hour drive to the home of her grandparents. For our chair ... more
    • how i got started f.david, Tue Mar 25 9:56am
      Well I have been caning for around 7 years and I do enjoy it. I am not to proud of where I learned, I got into some trouble with the law about 10 years ago and did some time in the NH state prison... more
      • Re: how i got started The Wicker Woman, Tue Mar 25 10:22am
        Hi Dave, Welcome to the Chair Caning Forum! It doesn't matter what the circumstances were regarding your learning of the craft, but rather that you learned it and have been making something good come ... more
        • thx f.david, Tue Mar 25 10:49am
          Thx for the kind words and advice. Dave
    • A Newby From Philly :) hannahbardinfurniture, Mon Mar 24 11:32am
      Hello, Chair Caning Forum! I'm new, and just got on the site to ask my first question when I saw this thread and thought it would be the best place to insert an introduction. I have actually been... more
      • Re: A Newby From Philly :) The Wicker Woman, Mon Mar 24 7:57pm
        Hi there Hannah, So glad you finally introduced yourself here! Hannah and I had a nice long talk on the phone a few months ago and I was so hoping she'd find us here and become a part of this... more
        • Newby from Philly Janet Noall, Tue Mar 25 9:10am
          Hannah, You are just plain AWESOME ! Jan N
      • Re: A Newby From Philly :) ABQLaurie, Mon Mar 24 12:52pm
        Welcome, Hannah! It's great to see another newbie in this seat weaving world, and you're sure to feel the camaraderie of the community very soon. Check out the Seat Weavers Guild, too. The annual... more
    • How I got started bworrad13, Fri Mar 21 10:53am
      Hello all! I'm Bruce Worrad in West Central New Hampshire. I'm 64 yrs old and have been doing seatwork since I was 25 years old. This is my first post, but have been following this forum since almost ... more
      • How I got Started Mary M Christenbury, Sat Mar 22 10:22am
        Hi Bruce, Please email me directly with your contact info. I may have some seat weaving work for you. Long story. Regards, Mary Christenbury Huntersville, NC
      • How I got started Janet Noall, Sat Mar 22 9:15am
        Welcome, Bruce, So glad you finally joined the Forum ! It is so fun to hear everyone's story. I wish everyone would be more "vocal" . We need more input ! I get TIRED of seeing my name here !!! So,... more
    • I was a woodworker and restorer for awhile before I added caning and rushing to the services offered. For those first few years, I never said "no" whenever someone asked me if I could do something.... more
    • I want to tell you about my mother who I think is the most amazing woman I have ever met. She has been caning since 1973. Caning was the farthest thing in the world she ever thought she would do. She ... more
    • I've loved reading your stories. The common theme seems to be that a "someone" introduced you, and the passion was ignited. My story is similar in that vein, except the person I credit with... more
      • Thank you for that wonderful story ABQ. It's great to hear of your adventure with The Uncles! My story is thus: I inherited a chair from my Grandmother. This was a beautiful nursing chair that had... more
    • How did you get started in Chair Caning Janet Noall, Sun Mar 9 1:14pm
      It was 1974, and my dad had just retired and was BORED ! He found a free class, that taught chair caning, and he said to my mom," I have to find some chairs that need caned ". She said " no you don't ... more
    • just fell into it johnk15, Sat Mar 8 9:38pm
      I attended a fund-raiser show for a local historical society and they had a man there demonstrating how to weave chairs. Looked interesting. I was working away from home, living in a hotel, in... more
    • How did I get started in chair caning? chrperson, Sat Mar 8 4:01pm
      I caned my first chair in 1974. A caned back to an upholstered chair, purchased by my father at a small shop in the furniture district in Chicago (where I lived at the time) because I had wanted to... more
    • How did you get started in the chair caning business Mary M Christenbury, Sat Mar 8 11:30am
      It was my sister-in-law's fault. She signed up for a class at John C. Campbell Folk School and invited me to go along with her. I'd been retired about two years and was in need of finding something... more
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