How I got started
Fri Mar 21, 2014 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 it's beginning.

As a young child (3,4,5, etc.) I watched my grandmother cane chairs for friends, family and some customers. Just a hobby more than a business. I have no idea where she learned the trade. Fast forward some 20 plus years and the family had many of her pieces, by than again in need of work. My father had recently retired and enjoyed refinishing and repairing chairs and etc. He set out on the task of redoing many of these items. He was one who would take a chair completely apart, repair broken parts, refinish the parts and put everything back together. The one problem he had was when it came to seat weaving. He just didn't like that kind of work and would become very frustrated anytime he tried.

One day after seeing him get upset with a seat I offered to give it a try. I still had some of my grandmother's instruction manuals and some handouts my father had picked up. I brought the chair and material home and by myself began to cane. From then on it was like a production line. He got the chairs ready and I installed the seats. One thing led to another and soon I was beginning to work with fiber rush, shaker tape, binder cane and reed.

Within a few years I was doing seatwork for friends, family and co-workers. I began charging for the cost of material. I had plenty to do and though I wasn't really making any money I was gaining the best kind of training and experience possible. I even got into some natural rush work and danish cord.

I retired from my real job a few years ago and placed a small business card size add in a local publication and began getting real customers and charging for my work. I don't have a "studio" or even a formal workshop. Just a small corner in a nice dry cellar. I try to limit my work to pick-up and delivery as I have little room for storing chairs.

About a year ago I became very discouraged with the quality of cane I was getting. So much so that I found myself trying to stay away form any work involving cane. I had never worked with any synthetic material. It's comforting to read of other's with similar problems. As luck would have it, several days ago I got a call from someone wanting me to do a cane seat. I explained the recent problems with natural cane and suggested synthetic. He said "fine" and yesterday I ordered my first hank of synthetic cane!

Thank you to all who share information on this forum. I'll try to contribute in the future. Thanks especially to David Dick who's very similar experience with natural cane encouraged me to take what is a huge step and make synthetic cane part of work. For the first time in a year or so I feel happy and encouraged.

Bruce Worrad
New Hampshire

  • 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 ... more
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        • thx f.david, Tue Mar 25 10:49am
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    • How I got started bworrad13, Fri Mar 21 10:53am
      • 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
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