Much has been made of Antiques Roadshow and not refinishing furniture as it may lower the value of the piece. While this is true if you have an antique by a known cabinetmaker (Hepplewhite, Stickley, Duncan Phyfe, etc.), pieces from the Victorian and later years were essentially mass produced and are fine to refinish.
Interesting enough, antique cars are just the opposite: A restored care is worth far more than an unrestored one!
If something is broken, have it repaired! If you leave it broken for historical reasons (unless, perhaps, Winston Churchill sat on a chair and broke it while signing documents at the end of World War II!), all you really have is a broken chair that is likely to get broken further or discarded. Be sensitive to the age of the piece and repair it using methods and glues of the period. Be particularly sensitive to making repairs that can be reversed in the future if necessary. (This can be beneficial if better methods of repair are discovered.)
A set of chairs is always worth more than the individual chairs priced separately. So do whatever you can to keep an entire set together.
Cane comes from the hard outer bark of the Rattan palm, a spiny climbing palm. Over two hundred species of rattan palms, grown in tropical and sub-tropical areas, exist. The bark is cut into thin strips which are used in cane seating. The chief exporters of this material are Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines.
Cane seats go back several thousand years. The original caned seats were probably made in China although various wicker and natural rush seats date back to ancient Roman and Egyptian times. The west was introduced to cane chairs once trade was established with China. In the eighteenth century, the first chairs, although quite crude, appeared in Britain, France and Portugal. But within a hundred years, thanks to master craftsmen and the advent of the Industrial Revolution, cane furniture became the rage. Some of the famous, and now most sort-after, names of excellent furniture craftsmen include Chippendale, Thonet, Stickley, Hitchcock, Sheraton, and Heywood-Wakefield.
The difference between "press" or "prewoven" cane and handcaning is that prewoven cane is pressed into a groove cut into the wood. Hand cane starts with a single strand of cane and is woven through holes drilled in the seat or back in a seven-step pattern producing the most common pattern seen.
Because all work is done on a custom basis, all pricing is based on the particular piece. However, some things like chair caning can be priced fairly easily. Please contact us for a quote.