In the context of furniture, caning is a method of weaving chair seats and other furniture either while building new chairs or in the process of cane chair repair. The material used in caning chairs is derived from the peeled bark or skin of the rattan vine native to Indonesia, the Philippines and Malaysia. Some vines reach 600 feet in length. Rattan vine looks somewhat similar to bamboo but is quite different in that bamboo is hollow and holds itself upright while rattan is a solid flexible vine that needs the support of surrounding structure to elevate itself off the forest floor. It climbs to the top of canopies of the forest to reach sunlight with the help of large rugged thorns that grab hold of surrounding trees. Sometimes much of the length of these rugged vines are draped along the forest floor from tree to tree in search of a suitable structure to climb.
Mistakenly some people confuse furniture or chair caning with wicker. To clarify, chair caning is specifically the craft of applying rattan cane or rattan peel to a piece of furniture such as the backs or seats of chairs, whereas wicker or wicker work is a reference to the craft of weaving any number of materials such as willow or rattan reeds as well as man made paper based cords. Wicker work is commonly used in basket and furniture weaving.