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Recaning an antique oak rocking chair

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Project by Jerry posted 08-05-2014 11:33 PM 1172 views 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Not so sure this qualifies as a wood project, but the chair is wood, and the cane is sort of woody, heh heh…

This was absolutely the worst, most difficult, and terrifying thing I’ve ever undertaken because it was an antique oak rocker and I was doing it for a client, so failure or damage in any way shape or form was NOT an option.

Normally a chair like this would have had the cane spline glued in with hide glue. That is the glue of choice for instrument makers and chair caners because while it has very good holding power, it can also be dissolved with water and heat for easy disassembly. However I don’t believe hide glue was used on this chair, because the traditional methods of removing the spline failed ( heat and warm water mixed with white vinegar ), and I had to take a more “hands on” approach ( read here chiseling the crap out of the groove with a home made cane chisel into the wee hours ) which was very tedious and time consuming because I had to be so very careful not to damage the groove. No power tools allowed on something like this. So, removing the spline and cleaning the groove took about 5 hours.

Also, you can normally remove the back and arms on cane chairs, it allows you better access to the groove when you are cleaning it out, but not this guy. I had to become a contortionist at times to get to the groove to clean it out because there was so little clearance between the groove and the arms.

At any rate, it’s done now, and it looks great, I couldn’t be happier.

-- There are good ships and there are wood ships, the ships that sail the sea, but the best ships are friendships and may they always be.





10 comments so far

View ErikF's profile

ErikF

442 posts in 1087 days


#1 posted 08-06-2014 02:07 AM

That looks great. There are so many antique chairs I’ve seen that I would have bought but was intimidated by the idea of recaning the seat. What a great skill to learn.

-- Power to the people.

View Jerry's profile

Jerry

841 posts in 491 days


#2 posted 08-06-2014 02:13 AM

Thank you ErikF! These two videos will show you everything you need to know

On this one, I used a putty knife instead of a chisel to remove the cane, I thought it was less risky.

-- There are good ships and there are wood ships, the ships that sail the sea, but the best ships are friendships and may they always be.

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

3769 posts in 1656 days


#3 posted 08-06-2014 02:48 AM

The seat came out great. Not everyone can tackle this type of difficult task.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View Jerry's profile

Jerry

841 posts in 491 days


#4 posted 08-06-2014 03:45 AM

Thanks Willie, any compliment from you is an honor.

-- There are good ships and there are wood ships, the ships that sail the sea, but the best ships are friendships and may they always be.

View InsideTheBox's profile

InsideTheBox

59 posts in 517 days


#5 posted 08-06-2014 06:10 AM

so… Jerry… I have this antique rocking chair that is in need of re-caning and I hear (and SEE) that you’re a pro now… :)

-- There's no such thing as a mistake; only a quick change of plans.

View Jerry's profile

Jerry

841 posts in 491 days


#6 posted 08-06-2014 02:38 PM

RE: InsideTheBox – Ahh ha ha haaa, I see where this is going. Lucky for me you are in CA and I am in OR :-) Seriously I would hardly call myself a pro. I did manage to pull it off, but it was because of a lot of research and some pure dumb luck. If you want some tips, the best one I can give you is “don’t try it” unless you have a lot of patience. As far as any other tips, I could pm you and tell you all of the things I learned that you should not do.

-- There are good ships and there are wood ships, the ships that sail the sea, but the best ships are friendships and may they always be.

View Roger's profile

Roger

16228 posts in 1647 days


#7 posted 08-07-2014 12:16 PM

A mighty fine fix Jerry.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Kentuk55@bellsouth.net

View Jerry's profile

Jerry

841 posts in 491 days


#8 posted 08-07-2014 06:45 PM

Thanks Roger.

-- There are good ships and there are wood ships, the ships that sail the sea, but the best ships are friendships and may they always be.

View Sasha's profile

Sasha

146 posts in 56 days


#9 posted 03-09-2015 04:52 PM

Beautifully and originally. It is pleasant to me. Good luck.

-- ganchik Sasha Russia

View Jerry's profile

Jerry

841 posts in 491 days


#10 posted 03-09-2015 06:13 PM



Beautifully and originally. It is pleasant to me. Good luck.

- Sasha

Thanks very much. Your work is awesome.

-- There are good ships and there are wood ships, the ships that sail the sea, but the best ships are friendships and may they always be.

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