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Thread: Cost (price) for recaining a chair

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Austin, Texas

    Cost (price) for recaining a chair

    I agreed to re-cain at least one (and perhaps many) chairs from a friend's estate; her executor is a friend as well, which is the only reason I agreed to take on the job.

    It took a while, since I had never done it before, but (using pre-woven rattan webbing in a chair made for that type seat) it came out amazingly well for a first try. Now the question is, what is the "going" rate to recain a seat? I can apply the discount for friends, etc., but I don't know whether a normal job (removing the old seat, cleaning the groove, soaking and installing the new rattan and the cain wedge, etc. ) is a $50 service or $500 (probably somewhere in between. This is not reweaving the seat, just installing replacement webbing.

    What would you charge for labor (the material was only about $10)
    Charlie Plesums, Austin Texas
    (Retired early to become a custom furnituremaker)
    Lots of my free advice at

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Escondido, CA
    Depends on your overhead and time expended. If your discounting overhead, then your hourly rate applies. Then there is also the number of chairs you do. Set up and clean-up take time. The optimum amount of supplies to have on hand plays a part. I'd charge for all the materials it was necessary to buy to do the job. No discount for left-overs. I'd then charge my loaded hourly rate (includes overhead). Then I'd apply the friend discount if you feel the need to. But remember its the friend discount that gets advertised as the going rate.

    To keep my friends happy, I send them elsewhere to pay the going rate. Then they are less likely to ask for a 'discount'. My reasoning is that the bank will not take them as a deposit from which I can pay my bills. When anyone asks for a discount, it is because they think you get paid too much for what you do. In my dictionary, that's disrespect.

    The irony is that I still wind up doing work for friends, but at my rate and they smile when they write the check. Go figure.

    Ducking, because I know the slings and arrows are coming.

    Some say the land of milk and honey; others say the land of fruits and nuts. All together my sort of heaven.

    Power is not taken. It is given. Who have you given yours to? Hmmmm?

    Carol Reed

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    The Gorge Area, Oregon
    Randomly found folks doing it says its close to $50 plus some for finishing and any repair work on the chair added on top.

    Seems rather cheap to me, but then I suppose if you look at the original cost of a lot of these chairs it can't have taken that long to do (even when they were domestically made) - so maybe if you can do a bunch it gets quick enough its still worth it (say at 20m or less per chair).

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Hudson Valley NY
    I do caining, splint, and rush for regular customers. I try to only do it during the winter months when my regular work slows down. None of it is a big money maker due to the time it takes to complete. I charge at least 75.00 plus material for a pre woven seat, 100.00 for a seat I have to weave. Its just not worth spending the time for anything less. I usually also have to pick up and deliver them.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Austin, Texas
    Thanks for your help. I spent about $10 on materials to do one chair. It took longer than it should since I kept running back to the computer to check the directions I found on line. But not too long later it was done - overall far faster than I expected, and the next time will be faster still - I will probably be able to earn my full shop rate.

    The customer was very pleased - I quoted $50 plus material. The other 5 chairs will come over after I get the material.

    The biggest challenge was soaking the prewoven material since I don't have an 18 inch pan. I ended up putting it in a plastic bag with warm water.

    The discount for friends may be picking up and delivering in my minivan.
    Charlie Plesums, Austin Texas
    (Retired early to become a custom furnituremaker)
    Lots of my free advice at

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    somewhere east of Queen Creek, AZ - South East of Phoenix
    i used to get $75/chair. i took me less then an hour. to soak the cane i had piece of vinyl rain gutter with caps on both ends. it was about 24" long i would just cut the cane a little proud roll it up a little loose and place in the tray. I also had screening tool it was just a roller with a handle. it worked great for pressing the cane in the groove, it also made pressing the spline down in the groove easier. Hth.
    "There’s a lot of work being done today that doesn’t have any soul in it. The technique may be the utmost perfection, yet it is lifeless. It doesn’t have a soul. I hope my furniture has a soul to it." - Sam Maloof
    The Pessimist complains about the wind; The Optimist expects it to change;The Realist adjusts the sails.~ William Arthur Ward

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