How to Easily Repair a Caned Chair Seat

When a caned seat is punctured, there's no need to kick it to the curb or pay the high cost to have it professionally recaned. This simple repair option will conceal the damage while making the chair functional again. 

Cane Seat Repair

Cane Seat Repair

When a caned seat is punctured, there is no need to kick it to the curb or pay to have it re-caned by hand. This simple repair option will make the chair functional again.

Photo by: Marian Parsons

Marian Parsons

Materials Needed

  • 1/2" plywood or MDF (piece large enough to cover seat of chair)
  • serrated knife or electric carver
  • quilt or upholstery batting in desired thickness
  • cardboard upholstery stripping
  • cardboard
  • staple gun (electric, manual or pneumatic) and staples
  • scissors
  • spray adhesive
  • permanent marker
  • jigsaw
  • eye protection
  • 2" foam cushion

Create a New Padded Seat

Use a jigsaw to cut 1/2" plywood or MDF into shape of chair seat. Then cut coordinating piece of upholstery foam using a serrated knife or electric carving knife. Use a pair of scissors to cut upholstery or quilt batting to same shape as well. Using spray adhesive, glue batting to foam, then foam to plywood cutout. Tip: Because of the back, it might be difficult to trace seat shape directly onto plywood, so make a paper template and trace that to ensure a good fit. 

Cut a New Seat

Cut a New Seat

Use a jigsaw to cut ½” plywood or MDF to shape of chair seat. Use serrated knife or electric carving knife to cut cushion foam to same shape. Use a pair of scissors to cut upholstery or quilt batting to same shape as well. Stick batting to foam and then foam to plywood cutout using spray adhesive. Tip: Because of the back, it might be difficult to trace seat shape directly onto plywood, so make a paper template and trace that to ensure a good fit.

Photo by: Marian Parsons

Marian Parsons

Prepare to Attach Seat Cover to Chair

Place newly made seat cover onto work surface, batting-side-down. Turn chair upside-down and set on top of seat cover, directly onto plywood/MDF side. Line up seat cover with chair seat. With scissors, cut a square out of cardboard that will fit over hole in caning.

Prepare to Attach Seat Cover to Chair

Prepare to Attach Seat Cover to Chair

Place newly made seat cover onto work surface, batting-side down. Turn chair upside-down and set on top of seat cover, directly onto plywood/MDF side. Line up seat cover with chair seat. With scissors, cut a square out of cardboard that will fit over hole in caning.

Photo by: Marian Parsons

Marian Parsons

Cover Hole in Caning

Cut lengths of upholstery cardboard stripping and use them to secure cardboard piece to wood seat base. Staple upholstery strip every few inches, using two strips, one on each side of cardboard piece to fully secure it.

Cover Hole in Caning

Cover Hole in Caning

Cut lengths of upholstery cardboard stripping and use them to secure cardboard piece to wood seat base. Staple upholstery strip every couple of inches, using two strips, one on each side of cardboard piece to fully secure.

Photo by: Marian Parsons

Marian Parsons

Secure Wood Seat to Chair

Use additional cardboard upholstery strips to secure wood seat to caning of chair seat (Image 1). Add a staple every few inches until seat feels securely affixed to chair (Image 2). Note: The nice thing about this method is that the staples can be removed in the future, so seat can be detached and chair can be professionally recaned at a later date, if you choose. To disguise your repair, upholster or slipcover the new padded seat (Image 3).

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