Re: How did you get started in the chair caning business?
Thu Mar 20, 2014 6:33am
74.240.128.160

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. This led to a lot of new skills and a lot of frustration, but was great for building up the portfolio during that time. I took in a chair for some repair and refinishing, and the customer asked me if I could "go ahead and cane the seat, too". I explained to him that this wasn't something I did, and his response was, "Well, maybe it's time you learned. I'm in no rush, so keep the chair and practice on it until you're satisfied. I'd rather have all the work done here." I was a bit taken back at first, but figured I had nothing to lose. I found an old Popular Mechanics magazine article with directions for hole to hole caning. It left a few important things out, but I did the job and the customer was happy. It's painful to see pictures of that chair now with all the mistakes! After that, I built new kitchen chairs for us and hand caned the seats to get some more practice (and use up all the left over cane I'd purchased for the customer's chair). I had no idea I'd be doing it so much later. I added rushing to the mix a couple years later, but didn't really feel like I had the hang of that until I'd done 20 or 30 chairs. I built a website dedicated to the caning side of the business a couple years later. It drew so much business that I couldn't keep up. Plus, it was consuming more of my time than my real passion - woodworking. I took the site down. Now I accept the chairs I want to do and refer the rest to two other caners in town.

Great reading everyone's stories!

Dan Alleger
http://www.danswoodworking.com
New Orleans, LA

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          Thx for the kind words and advice. Dave
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