Traditional Rush Work
Centre Cane Work
Close Cane Work
Common Terminology


The term 'wicker' is a generic term used loosely to describe a number of kinds of woven furniture and includes not only rattan but also willow, split reeds, centre cane and modern synthetic materials. I undertake work using all of the natural rattan material derivatives and also skeined willow, but not modern synthetic materials of the type that you see garden furniture manufactured from these days.


The term 'rush' can be applied to any single strand material that is used to seat a chair, usually in the familliar 'envelope' weave, be it traditional rush, cordon, reel rush, or paper fibre rush. Seagrass is also used for chair seating but lends itself to a chequerboard style of weaving.

Sea Grass

The term 'sea grass' is just that, it is a marine grass that grows in shallow saline lagoons and it is normally double counter twisted into a cord similar to garden sisal or hemp. Standard sea grass is best employed on square or rectangular seats or stools and woven in a chequerboard format. It is not well suited to the 'envelope' weave as the opposing strands tend to slip too easily against each other making it almost impossible to achieve a stable seat that will stand the test of time.

Cane Work
This Library Chair has an upholstered seat and the cane back has been replaced to match its twin but has not been stained.
This cane bench came from one of the sets of the TV series 'The Durrells', but you will be hard put to spot it apparently. The back and sides are 'blind caned' which means that the holes do not pass right through the frame.
This chair back is woven in a Sunrise pattern which is generally described as specialist cane work.
The construction of this medallion cane chair back is a fairly complex process but the result is very satisfying - but it takes quite a significant amount of time and patience to complete.
This chair apparently came from Biggin Hill where a Battle of Britain Spitfire pilot sat in it while waiting for the call to arms.
The seat of this piano stool has been caned in an attractive 'snowflake' pattern which is a tricky pattern to produce - especially when the number of holes does not correspond to the design requirements - as in this case. Note the half pattern at the bottom.
The worn centre cane on this office chair has been replaced.
This pair of lloyd loom style chairs originally supplied by Heals of London were falling apart and have been completely rebuilt.
The old and broken centre cane on these two trays has been replaced.

This chair had been upholstered over the top of the close cane work as can be clearly seen in the image to the left. The heavy tacks used can be clearely seen on the frame.

The customer requested that the old cane be replaced to match a similar chair that she had. The end result is shown in the image to the right.

This type of work is quite time consuming so is quite costly.

This type of seating is charged on an hourly basis. This particular example cost £200.00 to re-seat.

The image on the left shows how this chair was seated prior to restoration. Although this is a serviceable option, in my opinion the heavy lapping cane used is not really appropriate for a delicate chair of this type.

The finer close cane work using 3 mm wide rattan cane was used to re-seat it with the result on the right.

Skeined willow can also be used for seats of this type but this material is not commercially available (to my knowledge) in the UK. I have recently been able to obtain some beautiful skeined willow from a contact in Latvia, but only in small quantities.

The chair also required a small degree of structural repair.

Reel Rush Work
Here are three example of traditional river rush seated chairs showing how the new rush takes on a range of colours. The strands will mature to a golden honey colour over time. Traditional river rush is harvested annually. The rush I use is cut from the River Isle on the Somerset Levels.
Reel Rush looks very similar to traditional river rush when the chair seat has been completed as these two seats demonstrate. However reel rush is supplied in ready twisted coils and is manufactured from seagrass.

The chair on the left had been poorly seated using traditional seagrass in an open chequerboard weave.

When closely inspected it became clear that the front, back and side rails were round in section. This indicated that the chair should have had a splint seat fitted.

Splints were originally hand split from white oak, hickory or ash but flat reed manufactured from the rattan vine makes an excellent substitute.

The chair was re-seated using this material and as can be seen in the image to the right, produces a much more satisfactory result.

The rattan palm is a naturally renewable palm that grows in the tropical regions of Africa, Asia and Australasia.