Weekly Highlight: Re-Caning a Classic
Originally designed in 1956, when this vintage Hans Wegner Elbow Chair first came into our workshop this past April, it was looking every day of its age. In fact, at some point in its storied life, this CH20 broke on through to the other side. So we called upon our in-house expert, Emily Scheltgen, to weave her magic. Literally.
"The biggest challenge with this piece, and with re-caning these older pieces in general, would be the materials. Sourcing them is somewhat tricky: furniture caning is such a niche discipline; it can be difficult to find the specific materials you're looking for. And for this particular Wegner chair, there were thick, curved cuttings of rattan along the bottom edges to cover the nails. Nobody sells that anymore!"
"So we brainstormed a little about different solutions, and ended up making a very thin piece of ash in the shop to replace it. Working with the caning itself can be a little complicated too. It's a natural product and therefore has some defects and variances, it breaks easily if you don't process it correctly, and it's really difficult to color-match if you don't buy enough at once.
The chair itself was in great shape, but the seat had totally broken through the frame, it was barely hanging on in the back corner, and most of the wraps had come loose. Luckily, I was able to find some reference photos online of other restored pieces, and some originals, and through taking it apart, and comparing to the photos I was able to come up with the pattern and match it almost exactly."
This same technique, craft and expertise is on show in Emily’s re-caning of the matching Wegner stool.
- TGM Team