How to cane a chair

Re-caning a chair might seem difficult, but once you get into it, it is really easy and you will feel more comfortable, proud and confident that you did you own cane job. Just by getting the correct size cane and spline for your chair, you will have fun and enjoy this project.

Cain Tools, Spline and Supplies You Will Need for your Chair :

  1. A spline chisel and mallet for removing the old cane and spline.
  2. Safety glasses are a must have.
  3. Caning wedges for holding the cane in place and for driving it into the groove.
  4. A sharp utility knife and scissors. for cutting the spline and cane material.
  5. A flat thin bladed chisel for trimming the excess cane after it is pushed into the groove.
  6. A bottle of white, yellow, or hide glue.
  7. The pre-woven cane and spline.
  8. A wet rag.
Step 1 – Removing the Old Stuff (The hardest part)

Prop the chair seat up on a work bench or other table so you can chisel without having to bend over. If the spline that holds the cane in place appears to be in tight, you might want to use the utility knife or a thin bladed chisel to separate both sides of the spline where it butts up against the wooden seat frame. This will make it easier to remove with the chisel. You can also drill small holes into the spline and inject it with white vinegar to pre-soften the glue. Starting at the front of the seat, drive your spline chisel into the spline pry up some spline. If it doesn’t want to come out as one piece, you will have to take it out in layers until you get to the bottom. Always keep the chisel pointed away from body parts. Once you get the bulk of the spline removed, you can tilt up the spline chisel on it’s end and use it like a scraper to clean the groove out better. I like to take 80 grit sand paper folded up to do the final cleaning. You don’t have to remove every bit of glue on the bottom of the groove as long as the sides are clean.

Step 2 – Prepping the Cane and Spline

You will need measure the groove length if the cane has rounded corners. Cut your spline about two inches longer than the groove. If the corners have a tighter radius than a small can of soup, you will need to soak the spline in a tub of warm water to make it limber. If the groove has square corners, you will need to pre-cut them to size with 45 degree miters. The utility knife works good for this. Cut each side and label it where it goes. I usually install them temporarily in the groove to make sure the miters line up. Once you have all four pieces cut to fit, set them aside. Make sure that the width of your spline is the same width as your groove for proper fit.

Grab your scissors and cane material. You want to cut it so that it extends an inch past the groove in all directions. Make sure you have the shiny side up. After it is cut, you need to thoroughly wet it. Soaking it isn’t necessary. This will make the cane expand.

Step 3 -Installing the Cane

Holding the cane in position, sight through it at the front or rear board of the chair seat to make sure it is aligned. On all four sides, hammer a wedge into the groove in the middle of each section. This will hold the cane in place while you push it into the groove. I like to use a thinner wedge that has rounded edges to push the cane in. Start at one side and work your way around removing the holding wedges as you go. On curved corners, a thinner wedge will get into the curves better. It is crucial that you finish the project at this point since you don’t want the cane to dry up and shrink without being held in with the spline. Once you have the cane pushed to the bottom of the groove, you need to trim the excess material away. To do this, you can either use a utility knife or a flat chisel. You need to cut it half way up the outer side of the groove. I have found the chisel works the best and is the safest.

Step 4 – Installing the Spline

Once you have the cane trimmed, and all loose pieces out of the groove, it is ready for the glue. Any type of water based glue will work. Just tip the bottle up side down and run a bead into the groove all the way around. If your spline is in pieces, just hammer them in with the mallet. If you only have a hammer, you can use a wood block to hammer on so you don’t dent the spline.

If you have your spline still soaking, take it out and dry it off with a towel. On one end, make a 45 degree cut. when you angle it, it makes it harder to notice the seam. Put the seam at the back of the chair and hammer one end in. Work your way around until you get to the other end. Since you cut it long, it is overlapping. Line it up over the first angle cut on the other end and using the utility knife, make the cut and hammer the remainder in. Once the spline is in, all you need to do is wipe off any glue that may have oozed out.

Once the seat dries, it will tighten up. It is best not to finish cane since it needs to breathe. If you have to color it, you will need to us e a colored lacquer since it barely will take any stain.

7252 Heil Avenue
Huntington Beach, Ca. 92647
Phone: (714) 847-0707
Fax: (714) 843-5645
[email protected]

Chair Caning & Seat Weaving Supplies

Description: This kit is great if you need to re-do a pressed cane seat, but are unsure of the exact size needs.

Also, if you want to send material to a friend or family member who has a chair that needs re-doing but are unsure what sizes are required.

This is great for re-sellers and do-it-yourselfers alike.

Reed Spline
Reed Spline is the wedge-shaped reed that is used to hold the cane webbing into the groove around the seat frame. Spline is flexible and is bent into coils for easy shipping. When in doubt about size, send a sample of the Spline from the chair. If you are routing a new groove, make the groove 1/16″ deeper than the Spline to be used.

4′ x 8′ sheets – $205.50 each – 5 sheet bales $175.00 each
4′ x 4′ sheets – $105.00 each – 5 sheet bales $85.50 each
2′ x 8′ sheets – $105.00 each – 5 sheet bales $85.50 each

Screen Weave
White on White
Order Number: PW-590-W
21″ width

Screen Weave
Brown on Brown
Order Number: PW-590-NN
21″ & 42″ width

Ask for current price on 50 foot rolls.

Sample cards available for $0.50 each.

These are made from a high quality paper.They come in 7 different patterns. Samples available upon request for .50 each..

Black Spokes, Cream Weavers
Widths Available: 47″

Black Spokes, Light Brown Weavers
Widths Available: 47″

Made of steel, with a handle that will not split with hard usage. Used for removing old spline in chairs. Available in two sizes: Number 1 is 1/8″ wide at the tip and Number 3 is 3/16″ wide at the tip.

These are used for pressing cane webbing into the groove. put up in sets of 5 hardwood wedges, shaped for easy usage on round, as well as square seats.

Price:$2.10/ per set of 5

Original Glue
This glue is ready to use and requires no further preparation. Its uniformity and high quality contribute to its superior performance because it sets slowly, allowing plenty of time for the cane to dry. It is water soluble and can be removed from unfinished wood with soaking.
Order Number Description Price
LG-BOT 4oz bottle $2.49 ea
LG-QT 1 quart bottle $18.95 ea
LG-GAL Gallon $62.50 ea
Pocket Calipers
Offers you easy reading, gearless English and Metric measurements without the need for reading a vernier (or a bar ad dial) How to cane a chair
Order Number: Price Provides the smoothness and “feel” to make accurate measurements to .001″. with depth bar, thumb roller and scale on bar.
PC-E $42.50

Restauracion de Sillas Enjuncadas Con Cana Presionada, por Mike Frank
Order Number: B0110-S Price: $2.95
Describes how to restore seat bottoms made with pre-woven press cane. Includes tools and material requirements and illustrated step-by-step instructions, en Espanol.

Hello sweet friends! Thank you for sharing in my excitement Tuesday about the completion of our very first room in our new house: our guest bathroom! It really feels like a win to have one room done….one down, many more to go! Many also responded about being interested in a wainscoting tutorial, so I will gladly share that with you next week on Thursday!

In other news, my sons had their first day at their new schools on Tuesday and would you believe that not just one, but BOTH of them got off at the wrong bus stops?? We never thought about that being an issue ha ha! My oldest had to use his GPS on his phone to make his way home. Luckily they were both in the right neighborhood, not too far away! Yesterday went much more smoothly!

As you may know I have been on the hunt for two chairs to complete this set in my kitchen that I shared not too long ago:

How to cane a chair

You can see the table makeover I shared recently HERE and the chairs makeover I did in the Spring HERE if you missed them.

This set is working out perfectly in our new kitchen, but I needed two more chairs. The problem I was running into in my search, was finding just two that matched. There were lots of sets of six though!

Then when I was wandering through HomeGoods last week I spied these:

How to cane a chair

I had actually seen them once before but was sure I would be able to find something at one of my favorite thrift stores for much cheaper. When I saw them again, they had been marked down to $95. That’s way more than I hoped to spend, but a great deal for a brand new chair, and they had just two, so in the cart they went!

How to cane a chair

Although these were brand new, I didn’t have any hesitation about taking a paint brush to them…they were gold, ya’ll. Really gold.

Making them match the others I already had was actually pretty simple. All that needed to be removed was the piping around the bottom of the cushion and then I could get straight to painting. (That piping didn’t even have any cording in it…it was all flat??)

How to cane a chair

First I spray primed both chairs, then I painted them with (affiliate link) Fusion Mineral Paint in Casement to match the table. I like this paint because it requires no top coat, but since there is no sanding after, the finish isn’t quite as smooth to the touch as a chalk paint and wax combination, but I figured that would be just fine for these chairs. You can see I also grabbed several small things from my built-ins that were originally more ivory, to give them a fresh update as well.

I don’t usually paint in the house, but it was SO incredibly humid outside and I was trying to get them finished before our cookout we had last weekend.

I covered the chair seats in the same ticking fabric I used on the other chairs I redid…

How to cane a chair

See my tutorial HERE to see how I recovered these chairs and made the piping. I actually really liked the original fabric with the white, though!

I am so pleased with how this set came together:

How to cane a chair

Thanks to my sweet MIL for bringing me these beautiful fragrant blooms from her garden…just in time for these photos!

How to cane a chair

How to cane a chair

I liked these chairs because they have similar lines to the other two:

How to cane a chair

I thought they would make a pretty set. I love the carved details on these ones…

How to cane a chair

The piping is super easy to make, I promise! If you can sew a straight line you can totally make this…

How to cane a chair

Find my double welting tutorial HERE.

How to cane a chair

I decided to hang my “Beach Rentals” sign here above the doors. I think it works perfectly!

How to cane a chair

See how I made that sign from an old fence panel HERE. I still need to paint in here, but I’ll just take it down before I do.

And a couple of ya’ll asked about my big black and white mirror in the background when I shared my table…

How to cane a chair

That was a DIY project that was the result of a big fat fail! See that HERE. And don’t mind the little TV in the corner…that will be going soon.

I have been playing with the built-ins a bit. It’s harder to style them than I thought it would be:

How to cane a chair

Everything on them is something I already had. My hubby still needs to hide that cable cord from the TV and I need to figure out a plan for this window:

How to cane a chair

It is super tall so I am undecided if I want curtain panels (and if so, on just the outsides or in between each window as well??), roman shades, or should I just leave them as is? I’d love to hear what ya’ll think!How to cane a chair

You will probably never ever see me redo a brand new piece of furniture again! I really hated paying $200 for two chairs I was going to have to redo, but in the end they worked out great.

I’ll be back on Tuesday with my Trash-to-Treasure girls sharing a new thrifty makeover!

Surprise! It’s another chair:

How to cane a chair

Kinda cool, right??

UPDATE: Check out what I did with this chair HERE now! ?

If you missed any of my new house adventures so far, you can catch up here:

Have a great weekend!!

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