I asked how much she wanted for the chairs, and she responded, "Make me an offer." Oh, why do they say that? I know what potential some of these chairs can have, so I usually offer more than what they intended to sell them for. I just gave her a nod and snooped around the yard a little longer- still circling around the chairs - inspecting them, picking at the peeling paint, putting some weight on the frame to see how sturdy they were. Finally, she came back and offered me a price - thank you! She practically gave them to me. I left with 5 total chairs and enough cash to go find another yard sale.
By the end of the day, my yard ended up looking like I was having a sale myself.
I had never replaced a caning on a chair before, but that's what Google's for, right? This chair wasn't too bad off, but it still needed a lot of work.
Since the seat of the chair was loose and torn, I pulled out the cane webbing and the reed splines. I used needle nose pliers to remove the brad nails that secured the reed in the chair.
I put wood glue in the joints and used clamps to tighten the joints to make the chair less-wobbly.
Once the glue dried, I painted the frame white. I went to a fabric store and bought the replacement cane webbing and reed. Not all fabric stores carry cane webbing, so call before you go. I cut the webbing to about a 1/4" larger than the crevass in the chair. I soaked the webbing in hot water for about an hour to make it more pliable.
Let it dry out for about an hour. Its okay if it's still damp when you install it; as it dries, it will make for a tighter fit on the chair. I used a chisel to push the webbing into the crevasses and the ream acts as a shim to hold it in place. Apply wood glue before inserting the reed.
I also used brad nails to add an extra bond for the reed. I painted only the ream to cover the brad nails. The last step was to apply a finishing wax with a rag to seal the flat paint.
Don't be afraid to try something new. It pays off in the end.