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Last week I had the pleasure to work on a set of chair that originally were hand caned. One would think that once hand caned always hand canned! Not so thanks to the ingenuity of a wood worker of yesteryear.

The amazing thing of removing a genuine rush or even fiber rush seat done decades ago; is that sometimes it can be a mini time capsule full of mystery and surprise. These two chairs were just that. The original genuine rush seats yielded its hidden treasures. Once the old seat was removed I found packing material in the form of crumpled newspaper clippings from a Troy New York newspaper, dated 1935! However being very brittle, it revealed to me that it was the used car section of the paper. Did you know that in 1935 you could buy a used 1929 Buick Sedan for $60.00?

The mystery of these chair do not stop here, they were originally hand caned, and re worked to fit a drop in rush seat. This would tell us that back in 1935 it was no easier for some to find a hand caner in those day either. So the chairs were modified to accept a drop in Rush seat. This is the first time I had seen a chair like this but as the pictures will show this worked out beautifully for these Bird’s Eye and Tiger Maple dining room chairs.

I am hoping to get pictures of the finished chairs to post, I did not because there were done in a Rush (pun) I will need to get with the customers and get pictures of their finished chairs, to post.

PICT0228The Maple trim that you see going around the rush drop in seat, are the strips that cover the underlying hand caning holes.

PICT0218This is the original drop in seat with genuine rush bottom, note the decorative corner blocks.

PICT0219Please not the underneath side of a genuine rush seat, since the rope is actually acheived by laying cattail leave one upon the other in a graduated fashion and hand twisting them to form the rope as you continue to rush the chair, this results in the ends of the leaves protruding fromt he back of the chair seat. As this photo shows.

PICT0229This photo shows how the drop in seat just slips out of its holding space in the center of the chair.

PICT0226Bottom of the chair, reveals the hand caned chair seat, and the blocks placed in the corners to support the rushed drop in seats.

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