So, my mother has asked me to re-cane a couple of old chairs that have been in the family for several generations. These have glue and spline style seats rather than hand-woven seats. I've done a bit of research and the process seems pretty straight forward, but I do have a few questions.
1. There are lots of places on the web to order caning supplies. Do you have recommendations/places to avoid that you've used before?
2. Do you have any "gotchas" to share... things I should watch out for as I go through the process?
3. I got a-hold of the chairs this weekend, and it's not just a re-caning job. One of the chairs has been previously repaired, and the other is in need of repair before I can re-cane it (thus, the woodworking aspect of this problem :^). In both cases, the board that forms the back of the seat frame has split over time (in the thinnest place, in line with the groove that holds the spline on the top side). The pictures, below, give you an idea what I'm dealing with. The previous repair used glue and a couple of screws to reinforce the board, but given the piece's location on the seat, that seems a chancy fix to me.
Here's a picture of the underside of the seat of the broken chair. The broken piece is actually loose, I just put it into place so you could see it in context. The loose piece is the piece above the crack in this picture.
Here are some shots of the previously-repaired chair. You can see that on each end of the repaired piece there is a screw "toe-nailed" into the board to tie it to the perpendicular pieces on each end. As iffy as this repair looks, it held for a long time. I believe the previous repair was 40 years ago, and it held out longer than the caning on the same chair. Because of the nature of how the cane webbing is attached, this piece will be under continual stress when someone is seated, probably more-so than the sides or front of the seat frame.
I'm trying to come up with a way to repair/reinforce the back frame piece that will support the weight of a sitter and last for the life of the chair. I've thought of using either long screws or lengths of metal rod to create a dowel-like config that would support the joint, but that may be overkill. I know the glue will be strong enough along the long-grain joint, so all I really need to do is support the front edge of that back piece to keep it from torquing and splitting again should the end-grain glue joint fail. I would appreciate any suggestions you might have.