Cane-spotting! The Inaugural Luncheon.

possibly the most played moment of the Inauguration

In the early days of my chair caning business, I came up with a cheer:


And a jingle:

Chair repair, chair repair, doot doot doot doot doot chair repair.

(If you’re trying to sing it yourself, the melody goes up the first 3 syllables, down the second 3 syllables, and the last bit starting with doots goes back up and back down with the last chair repair…just call me and I’ll sing it to you.)

When I used to work in my house caning chairs the jingle developed an alternate lyric:

“Chair repair, chair repair, holy crap, it’s everywhere” (ie. in my bed, Jack Dog’s tail, my shoes, in the sofa, everywhere)

machine cane backed chairs

That is the jingle we sing  we are overwhelmed with chair orders or casually when chair spotting (see last post of Mark Twain).  This morning I was on the ole interweb reading and watching the news and saw the video of Michele Obama at the Inaugural Luncheon.  I saw no eye roll, I only saw chairs…GO CHAIR REPAIR!

Caroline rocker by Woody's Chair Shop

binder cane rocking chair preferred by President Kennedy

So I did some searching…cuz I know Kennedy sat in a cane rocker and I know that there are Lincloln Rockers but I didn’t know why.  And surely there is more cane in the White House?  I know that Woody’s Chair Shop made some rocking chairs for Caroline and John Jr. and that they have chairs in the Smithsonian.

By the way if you have a Kennedy Rocker in need of repair,  just go get a new one.  I will charge you a lot of money to fix it.  It takes about 60 hours to weave new seats and backs and they are the least fun type of chair to weave.  You can get a new seat online at  Or you can replace the tiny binder cane with a wider flat reed that will take half the time and cost you half as much and look just as good.

cane back chairs on either side of the desk

But I digress.  As it turns out the White House is heavily upholstered and gaudily rococo’d, but I did find some cane back chairs in the Oval Office!

And that Lincoln Rocker?  Well, it is as infamous and Jackie’s blood stained Chanel suit.  Lincoln preferred sitting in this type of rocker and was indeed he was sitting in an upholstered version of it when he was assassinated in Ford’s Theater.  Yes, that is Lincoln’s DNA on the back of the chair.

Lincoln's infamous Rocker...may you rest in peace, Mr. President...and thanks for abolishing slavery. That was cool of you.

The style was popularized and is most often seen with a cane seat and back.  This type of chair is not for beginner chair caners. It has many holes, several curves, and structural issues to consider before weaving. That said, I love these rockers.  I love to weave them too.  They look so damn good when they are restored.

My first Lincoln Rocker repair job



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