Friday, March 24, 2017

Cane bottom chairs

We have several cane-bottom chairs. One of them is a chair that Jilda's grandmother Mamie gave Jilda and me when we married. It was old when she gave it to us. Now it has to be a least a hundred years old. 

The cane in the bottom weakened from age, and some of the strands began to break. Rather than keep it here, we stored it in the old house down at the barn.

We have three others that her mother gave us. A few years ago, we decided to restore them all. We started with two of them.  An elderly gentleman who re-canes chairs told us he could do that work. We decided to give him a try. He worked slow, but the end result was beyond expectation. The two chairs he repaired were beautiful.

Attending the folk school last week, reminded us that we still had two chairs that needed repair. When I called Mr. Lofton, he said he moved even slower these days, but if we weren't in a hurry, he'd be happy to re-cane our chairs. We took them this morning.

We stood in his yard and talked for a long while. He said that people asked him all the time why he didn't retire and "stop fooling with those old chairs?" His response was, I love doing that work. I'm glad he does and I can't wait to get Mamie's chair back in our house.



  1. Genuine craftsman who can cane chairs. I am glad you wrote a bit about him tonight.

  2. It is really skilled work. I am glad you found him and fear that when he stops the craft will be lost.

  3. Anonymous12:58 AM

    What will we do when all the skilled craftsmen are gone?

  4. Those old craftsmen are a dyeing breed. You're lucky he still is able to restore your old chairs.

  5. You should stick around and let him teach you. This art is a rare fine now days.

  6. I just threw out the last of the cane bottom chairs I had. I hated to do it but knew of no one who could repair it. How great you found someone who could fix yours. Preserving a piece of history is worth it for sure.

  7. It must be an incredible feeling to have a piece of furniture that has belonged to family for so long. I'm glad you can have them repaired.

  8. As a child I stood and watched as an old man was re-cane-ing a chair. I kept thinking of weaving a basket with fewer ends. LOL Glad you are getting it done. In my childhood most 'extra' chairs were cane-bottomed. Many churches had cane bottom chairs in their Sunday Schools, both grown up and kids chairs. Fond memories.

  9. Methinks Mamie is looking down and smiling so big!

  10. It's great hearing how much this fellow loves this work. I hope you'll post pictures of the finished set.


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