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Chair Cane weaving
step by step with photos

2 Center Hole
Rounded Seat
Pressed Cane Insert
Comments & Photos Weaving a Pressed Cane Insert.

Photo 1. This is the back of a chair that need its cane inset replaced. Rather than holes to weave through, it has a groove around the edge.

The material is called pressed cane, pre woven cane or cane webbing. It is held in the groove with a piece of cane called spline.

This particular pressed cane to be replaced is radio net, a 1/1 weave that comes in 3 pattern sizes. You measure the number of strands per inch( either direction) and should come up with 5 x 5, 6 x 6 or 7 x 7.

Then you measure from the outside of the spline edging ( L & W) add 1 inch to each side. And that is how you would order your replacement.

Then you need to know the size of the replacement spline. Measure the width of the groove itself & depth. These two numbers will determine the # of the spline to order. There are 6+ sizes available.

NOTE: See for their supply catalog.

Side Note: Other open weave pressed cane patterns are measured from the center of a pattern hole to the center of the adjoining pattern hole. 3/8", 7/16" 1/2" ( most used), 5/8", 3/4", 1".

cane chair replacement

photo 2. The first thing you want to do is to carefully break the paint/stain seal between the outside of the the spline & the frame of the piece. I generally begin by using an Exacto knife. Box cutters work too.

break seal outside the spline

Photo 3. Once you have broken the outer seal & cut the inside side of the spline, begin using the spline removing chisel. It is a 1/8" wide, curve tipped tool made specifically for this job.

Start in the middle of a side as to not damage corner wood. DO NOT PUT THE CHISEL TOTALLY TO THE BOTTOM OF THE GROOVE. Rather chip away until the spline begins to lift for you.

Then gently hammer the chisel along the groove as the spline releases. Always watching that the frame wood is not being damaged.

When all old materials are completely removed and the groove is dry, run a piece of sandpaper around, through the groove for a final cleaning and edge smoothness. Also look at the inner rim of the seat for old paint/stain & pattern marks that should be sanded away too.

Note: What I have described is an ideal situation. Just like reading strand instructions for a square chair seat. ( How many seats are square?!!) Anyway, the spline coming out easily depends on the dryness due to age of the seat & the glue used last time it was inserted. You may end up having to spray water along the groove, or vinegar water, letting it set for 1/2 hr. or so. Some repair people choose to use a Dremel to rout out the groove. This is not recommended by me, because you don't want to change the portion of the groove size( width to depth) for good spline replacement..

spline releases

Photo 4. Here I am showing you the pressed cane, trimmed with allowance on each side. I have already wet it very good, just under running water ( DO NOT SOAK), centered it straight on back opening, & tapped in 4 of the 5 wedges that come in one pkg. set.

Alternate hitting the wedges( once) as you need to, moving around the entire groove. Try to angle the wedge away from the inner groove edge to prevent tearing the cane. You can also use the back of the chisel & draw it through the groove, especially with radio net. Trim excess cane ends with good pointed scissors on the outside edge to where all is below the rim.

Then go around the entire groove again, with wedge & hammer, putting all the cane ends into the groove as far as possible.

Note: Should a strand end break, take a left over scrap piece & reweave securely into pattern, always ending under. May need to use tweezers and a bit of glue too.

pressed cane chair seat

Photo 5. Now you are ready to put a thin trail of Franklin Hide Glue into the entire groove. You do not want to use a wood glue. It seals more than necessary & will challenge the next person that needs to replace the cane next time.

Franklin Hide glue

Photo 6. This project has right angled corners. Therefor a piece of spline has been cut for each side & mitered at the corners. I did "wet" the spline first. How much you need to wet it depends on the size of the spline & the curve of the groove.

If you have a curved groove all the way around you start & stop one piece at the center back. You also may need to curve a piece from left to right front rail, then miter in a straight piece across the front rail. Just feel the give of the spline, work slowly, water spritz if needed, and tap in with wedge as a buffer if you can---- prevent hammer marks.

You should then water spritz the entire cane. It's important the piece lay horizontal ( glue doesn't run), away from sunlight for a day to dry and tighten up. Here I had to use clamps due to the significant curve, until the cane dried.

The pressed cane has its own natural skin. It will wear well for a long time as is. The spline is porous. To keep clean, it needs to be sealed. Min Wax Golden Oak comes closest to matching aged cane. You may choose to match the wood of the project instead. You can stain the spline before or after inset. The cane itself will darken on its own.

Refinishers know how to stain the cane for "special" looks.

I hope this set of photos will encourage the one- time- needed -home-project crafter to give it a try..

chair cane replacement instructions
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