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Collectibles-General (Antiques)/Learning wicker repair



I have no experience in repairing wicker furniture, thought I should give you my level of experience first.  I am however an artist and have been an art teacher for 25 years, so I should have the patience and eye hand coordination.  I am retiring in August and was looking to do some home related projects an lo-and-behold  the house on the next street threw out 2 wicker rocking chairs and 2 tables.  They are in terrible condition with one rocker completely off.  I do have all the pieces.

All the pieces are quite lovely and I want to upholster the seats to match the rooms they will go in.  The seats are now wicker.  I restore regular furniture and have just about every tools you can imagine so there I am lucky.  I have ordered several books from out local library to give me some support.  Where do I start?  I want to brass bursh all the loose paint off first then what do you suggest?  I thought this might be a fun (maybe) and long term project.  Thanks >>>Christine


Can you attach some pictures of your new wicker pieces, that would help me a lot in making suggestions specific to your situation?

I'm excited to hear of your enthusiasm for wanting to learn a new craft and wicker furniture repair is a great way to start, although if you had previous basketweaving and/or chair caning experience it would benefit you greatly.

But in general...Since ALL the weaving techniques and pattern used on wicker furniture repair originally came from basket weaving using round materials, I would suggest you either purchase or get from your local library, any and all books on willow basket weaving before doing anything else.

Wicker books by Richard Saunders are all very good, as are the English Willow Basket books and How to Buy and Restore Wicker Furniture by Thomas Duncan.

You need a personal reference library that you can fall back on as you develop this vocation, but of course, can also get a lot from the Internet.

Once you familiarize yourself with the weaving techniques, the next thing to do would be to figure out what type of material was used in the construction of your newly acquired wicker furniture. You need to make all repairs and replacements with the exact same kind of material, otherwise it will look odd in most cases and stick out like a sore thumb.

And purchase the correct size and type materials from the Cane & Basket Supply Companies listed on my website. Tools are minimal and you probably have most around home or in the garage.

My site is chock full of information regarding both wicker furniture repair and restoration as well as chair caning and other seat weaving techniques.

Be sure to watch the videos and go to the Wicker FAQ page, and the Articles page as well as the ones where I show how-to steps for repairing a child's wicker rocker and a wicker sewing cabinet.

You might also consider becoming a chair caner and seat weaver, as there's lots of demand for that, too. In 2007 I helped to start the first and only chair caning guild in North America called, The SeatWeavers' Guild, Inc.® at that you might enjoy joining.

I also set up a chair caning forum in 2004, that has helped beginners and professionals in the craft of chair seat weaving and wicker restoration.  Drop in there sometime, too.

Well, hope all this information has been of help and that you will begin a new career in the near future!  

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The Wicker Woman®-Cathryn Peters


I will answer any questions having to do with antique wicker furniture, wicker furniture repair and restoration, chair caning and all other types of chair seat weaving techniques and patterns. I DO NOT GIVE APPRAISALS or free WHAT IT'S WORTH valuations, nor do I buy/sell wicker furniture at this time.


Since 1975 I've been repairing and restoring all types of wicker furniture from the 1880s-1940s, with a special interest in the Victorian era. I'm proficient in the repair and restoration of all types of chair seat weaving; hand-twisted cattail and bulrush, paper fiber rush, chair caning of all types, Shaker tape, Danish cord and seagrass. I also teach chair seat weaving at folk schools, basketry conventions and private individuals or groups. I also offer consultations, and will demonstrate and lecture on the craft topics of chair seating, wicker repair and basketry. I am also web master of, online since 1999 and founder and moderator of the Seatweaving & Chair Caning Forum since 2004.

Founding member and first President of The SeatWeavers' Guild, Inc. (TSWG 2007-2011), Seatweaving & Chair Caning Forum founder and moderator (2004-present), charter member of the National Basketry Organization, numerous regional and state basket guilds, and member of the Basketmakers' and Chair Seaters' Association (BA) located in the United Kingdom.

Woman's Day Budget Decorating Ideas 2006, Country Living August 2004, Finishing & Restoration Magazine, October 2002, Barbara Brabec's Handmade For Profit, Homemade Money-Starting Smart! and Homemade Money-Bringing in the Bucks!, Collector's Journal, Basketry Round-Up #2 by Shereen LaPlantz, Splint Woven Basketry by Robin Taylor Daugherty, 101 Best Home-Based Businesses for Women by Priscilla Y. Huff, Ralph & Terry Kovel's Yellow Pages of Restoration Experts, Small Town Minnesota from A-Z by Tony Andersen and monthly Wicker Furniture columnist for Minnesota's The Old Times newspaper in 1993 & 1994.

High school graduate, self-taught, and "school of hard knocks" for all the rest!

Awards and Honors
I've been involved in several unique wicker restoration projects such as weaving two wicker chairs for the Johnson Wax Replica Sikorsky S-38 Amphibian Airplane in 1998, then two more in 2000 for Buzz Kaplan, owner of Born Again Restorations, the company that created the replica Sikorsky, and did the restoration of all the wicker furniture in the Itasca State Park, Bemidji, MN during their Centennial celebration in 1995. I've also served as Chair Seatweaving Mentor to an apprentice through the Minnesota State Arts Board Folk Art Grant program in 2000, been the recipient of a McKnight/Arrowhead Regional Arts Council (ARAC) Career Opportunity Grant in 2004, and the recipient of a McKnight/ARAC Emerging Artist Fellowship in 2005.

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