I love Bentwood rockers. I have had two and think they're just so pretty. The one I currently have has been moved all over the house, filling in whenever I need extra seating in a room. After being in a high usage area for maybe too long, I brought it downstairs to protect it. Unfortunately, I think I was a little too late. This poor rocker couldn't handle the pressure anymore and its cane seat finally gave up the ghost.
I just couldn't bear to get rid of the chair, but I didn't really want to learn to recane it right now. I'd seen "before and after" shots where people had reclaimed rocking chairs and thought we could do it. I pulled out the cane seat and discovered that there is a lip there that can hold a thin board. Now my biggest problem was a lack of skill with the jigsaw to create a board in the necessary shape. (I'm pretty handy with the scroll saw, but controlling the hand-held jigsaw isn't one of my strengths...yet.) Once I explained what I was trying to accomplish, my beloved Superman came to my rescue. We headed to Home Depot, picked up a small sheet of 5mm underlayment, then headed over to Hancock fabric to pick up a square of foam, and some adhesive to make the foam and the underlayment stay friends and we were ready to salvage this chair.
First, Superman traced the shape of the seat using the broken cane seat, then he cut out the board and refined the shape with the sander. Using the board as a template, he traced the shape onto the foam and cut it in the appropriate shape using a bread knife. At that point, he was ready to glue the foam onto the board...a little spray adhesive sprayed onto the board did the trick. Oh, he's says it really isn't movable once the foam meets the glue, so keep that in mind. (He's not big on stopping for pictures, so you'll just need to use your imagination for this process.) I was ready to cover the cushion with fabric I already had, but he ran with that, too. A staple gun and a few minutes later, he had the cushion ready to go. He finished the project off with a few finish nails to attach the seat to the rocker and, viola, my Bentwood rocker is one again usable. I think the entire project (not including the trips to Home Depot and Hancock Fabric) took about 1/2 hour, maybe 45 minutes.
Not only that, it is sturdier than ever. This is the xBox chair these days, so it is withstanding the enthusiasm of teenagers. Need I say more?
One note: I think I need to hot glue a piece of cording around the seat to camouflage the edge, but I haven't gotten around to it. I thought you'd like to see the down and dirty, though, to make it easier to picture the process.