"I've got these wicker chairs and the seats have broken can you help?"
That's how the conversation usually starts followed by a series of questions from us - what does the seat look like, is it four triangles going into the middle or does it have thin flat strands woven in a kind of star pattern? Is it a basket weave or chequerboard squares? Is the material round or flat? etc.
The problem is that wicker is a word used to describe everything and anything woven and until we know for sure what sort of weaving it is, it's impossible to give a quotation or any advice. Thank goodness for e-mail and the internet! At least now photos can be sent so that you can see the "patient" and know for sure what you're dealing with.
It happened only yesterday. After the usual first few questions we were still confused. Flat material but in a kind of over/under pattern close together - pieces of wood nailed around the edge of the seat - rough funny shaped seat rails - French chairs......There was only one solution, "Can you send me a photo please?"
The photo arrived and eureka, problem solved! What was a French rush chair originally has at some time been reseated with thick lapping cane in a standard basketweave pattern, who'd have ever guessed? Now we know the work needed.