methods of work #1: Replacing a cane chair seat

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Blog entry by Loren posted 01-23-2012 10:28 PM 5581 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of methods of work series Part 2: How to set a chisel hoop so the handle won't splinter »

I am repairing a set of antique chairs.

The chair shown here had holes for hand-weaving cane. I have done hand weaving before and it is tedious and time-consuming and not a specialty of mine.

To save labor hours I’ve excavated a spline channel on top of the holes in order to allow the use of pre-woven cane. I cut the spline channel using a plunge router and an edge guide. The cutter I used is one sold for “undersized” plywood, so it is probably 7/32”. The groove must be matched to the spline material so if you undertake this modification to an old chair, get your cane mat and spline before you cut the groove.

The cane is soaked for several hours in warm water and becomes formable to fit the spline channels. The splines have a slight tapered cross section and are wider at the top.

After the cane dries in place, I’ll remove the splines, shave them down a bit so they won’t stand proud of the seat frame, and reinstall them permanently with glue.

Cane seats last a long, long time if used as chair seats. Youngsters are sometimes undissuadable from standing on chairs and that’s how the cane seats in this set came to be broken.

2 comments so far

View NoLongerHere's profile


893 posts in 2676 days

#1 posted 01-24-2012 03:38 AM

I just took on a cane seat repair job – my first.

I figured it would be simple and planned on getting some advice. I didn’t know about soaking the cane. Are there different size splines? They want to add a cushion so it won’t show but I want to do it right so I guess I have more research to do.

Are you going to stain and varnish the new caning?

View Loren's profile


10401 posts in 3648 days

#2 posted 01-24-2012 06:41 AM

Yes, there are different size splines.

I haven’t decided on the stain.

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