First, measure the size of one of the holes
Cane comes in six widths from Vieto 3As inches. A standard hank has 1,000 feet of cane in strips up to 18 feet in length, enough to do an area abouf 24 by 24 inches. High quality cane is called "select", costs more, and is worth it. The size of cane you buy is determined by the size of the hole in the chair rail and the distance between the holes. Cane is generally designated by name (superfine is the narrowest, common the widest) rather than measurement. You will find variations in these names, and if you buy your cane in places where no one knows much about cane, you may find widths with the wrong names. We suggest you buy from cane suppliers who advertise in magazines and who know the business, or from local dealers who understand the material and how it is used. The chart below tells you the kind of cane to buy to fit your chair.
Note that the sizes of cane supplies are not critical and that you have some leeway. You can use cane a size smaller than specified, for example, for a given hole diameter — but not larger. The relationship of the cane size to the hole size is important because so many strands of cane must go through each hole. If the hole is too small, or the cane too large, you won't be able to fit the last strands through and you won't be able to finish the job.
Name of Cane Hole size Distance between holes
Superfine Vb" %"
Fine-fine 3/i6" Vs"
Narrow medium 'A" 3A"
in the seat. An accurate way is to insert drill bits of known diameter. The bit that completely fills the hole — for example, a Vis-inch bit — tells you the diameter of the hole. Next, measure the distance be tween the centers of several holes. (This should be consistent However, you can find chairs with holes which are different distances apart, particularly on older chairs and those that were not factory made. When this happens, find the average distance.)
Take these two measurements to the chart and determine the name of the cane you need.
PREPARING TO If the piece has RECANE YOUR any old cane re-FURNITURE maining, remove that first. Study the way the cane was woven, if you can. just to help you get started on the new caning later. Save a piece of the old cane as a guide in buying the correct size of new cane.
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