Friday, April 22, 2011

Replacing a cane seat -- my way!


There are a lot of great tutorials on how to replace a cane seat.

This is not one of them.

But it does show that you don't need special tools to do the job!
Just look through your kitchen drawers!

I haven't always been brave enough to try re-caning. When I found this bench, for example, I chose to cut a new wood seat and ignore the broken cane (and I think that was a great choice for that project).

However, I did replace a cane seat for this set of chairs, so I was ready to tackle another one!

This is what I came home with:

In my opinion, removing the old cane is the most difficult part. Some come out easy, some don't--this one was a "don't." A utility knife and a flat-head screw driver can be helpful in clearing the debris out of the channel, followed by a nice roll of sandpaper. You want to get it as clean as possible for the new cane and spline.

Then the instructions tell you to soak the cane and the spline--don't skimp on this! That's what makes it pliable enough to work with. Give it a good hour; you'll be happier that way.

Then you have to push the cane into the groove. Do you need any special wedges or rollers?


What you need is something dull, narrow, and with no sharp edges! So dig out your plastic spatulas, dough scrapers, and cookie turners!

Be creative! When you need to go around those corners, you're going to need something turn your spatulas over!

It looks goofy. But it works!

Once you have your cane tucked in nice and snug in the groove, you can just use a utility knife to cut off the excess cane just below the edge of the groove. Make sure you have a nice, sharp blade. A dull blade can pull on the spline, and "untuck" it. You can use something like a putty knife--or a nice metal dough scraper if you're still working out of your kitchen drawers--to provide a nice straight edge to cut against. Hold the putty knife in one hand with the edge just below the edge of the groove, and run the utility knife along the edge.

You should soak your spline at the same time as your cane (did I forget to mention that before? sorry). So now that the excess cane has been cut, you're ready to squirt a bead of glue (I use a good-quality wood glue) into the groove right on top of the cane. Insert your spline into the groove, running it all the way around without worrying about pounding it in the first time. It's easy enough to cut with a utility knife when you get to the end. Then, use a hammer to gently tap it into place.

Yes, they sell special tools for pounding in spline. I haven't used any of those, either!

It may not be a professional job--but I don't charge a professional's fee, either!

Here's how the chair looks after some paint, distressing, and glaze:

I snapped this picture just before this chair went out the door this afternoon. It was one of six pressed-back chairs that I refinished this week! (See here for those other chairs!)

(Edited to add: Rhonda at Yellow Brick Road posted how she re-caned her chairs here.)

Note: I order my chair cane and spline from Rockler. The supplies are not very expensive, but shipping is! But Rocker often gives a "free shipping" code, so I always do an Internet search for one, and save my orders until one is available if I can.

Furniture Feature Fridays

Funky Junk's Sat Nite Special


The DIY Show Off




Teresa@1800 Farmhouse Rd said...

It looks both professional and great!

Tracy's Trinkets and Treasures said...

I like your spatula tool. The chair looks great. I bet lots of people will find this very useful.

Pamma said...

Fabulous! I needed this tutorial as I just picked up a wicker and cane barstool that needs a little love.
Have a great weekend and job well done!

Keetha Broyles said...

I'm most happy to see that your spatula ALSO shows signs of meltage and mine isn't the ONLY one that does.

Full Circle Creations said...

From the looks of the finished product, you could be a professional! Great job!

Christie said...

I love it! I laughed out loud at this post! I have a chair with a back that needs new caning. I'm sure I'll do it this way. ;) Thanks.
~ Christie

Rachel said...

You! Are brilliant. I get the biggest kick out of doing projects like this with what ever 'tools' I can find. :D

The chair looks good to me! Can't see what isn't professional.

Carisa said...

I'm wondering where you got the new caning. I have several chairs that need to be redone but I didn't even realize this was something I could do myself!

Anonymous said...

I have been wandering around your blog this afternoon, loving it all. Love the things you put in your "shop." Amazed that you re-caned a chair; I paid a *lot* to have my parents' 6 chairs re-caned when they became mine. My question: what did you do with the excess "stuff" when you were through caning, and is there something you put around the edge to make it "finished?" Oh, and I "followed" your blog :)

Olive said... worked...that is all that matters. The white is gorgeous.

Custom Comforts said...

Thanks for sharing. So much better than paying someone else to do it. Where do you buy the caned sheets? Newest follower.

Pam Kessler said...

I never knew you could just buy caning already caned (in sheets). I alwways pictured it being a huge ordeal to weave the stuff together. Great idea!

Brandi said...

Thanks for sharing your tips! Your chair looks great painted white!!!!

SJ @ Homemaker On A Dime said...

Thank you so much for coming and linking up :) Really appreciate your participation at the Creative Bloggers' Party & Hop.

Unknown said...

I LOVE your process!!!! Fun!....and the chair looks great!

Babs said...

Great tutorial.. and I have a chair that needs to be recaned. I just put a piece of wood and padding and cushion on top... not good.
I was wondering... do you cut the excess caning off before or after the spline is in place? You've inspired me to look for a caning kit and try to recane the seat. Your chair looks great in the white color.

Babs said...

Korrie, Thanks for the explanation about cutting the excess caning. Sorry, I didn't have an email address. I tried to put a different email address for the blog, but for some reason.. probably my own lack of blogger skills, :) I can't get it to send comments to that email address. Thanks again.

M Mommy to 4 said...

Thanks for the link to Rockler! I've been trying to decide how to re-do a chair and this might push me in that direction. I was hoping for a little more explanation on the spline too and when to cut the excess caning. I'm not seeing it in the comments, even though Babs says she got the explanation. It looks like you've got a LOT of people interested in this project!

Korrie@RedHenHome said...

I've edited the post to include some more steps! Hope the new information is helpful.

Screaming Meme said...

YOu are so awesome!!! Thank you for the tutorial...:) Hi, Im Meme from Screaming Meme...i want to personally invite you to sign up for my Chalk Paint ends May 26th...Hope you stop by to check it out!

Rhonda said...

Thanks a TON! We actually have a Rockler store here in Houston, TX and I am making a trip there on Saturday to get my supplies. I have 3 chairs to fix. I'll keep you posted! I love how easy you make it look..... *wink*