My First Try!
All of these terms represent the same process. The cane is purchased by the running inch & comes already woven. It is about 14-28" wide & can be cut off the roll at the length you desire. I bought a roll with plenty extra for more chairs. I also bought at 24" width, so that I would not have to carry various widths on hand. I would just cut off extra width & consider it waste.
This is a story about my first Pressed Caning experience. My friend asked me to fix her rocker. She believed it to be her Grandmother's. Because I wanted to try another caning technique & add to this chair caning web site, I decided to give it a try. So here's my story, not a thing of beauty, but a learning experience.
The basic steps to applying Pressed Cane (as I undertake this, my first,
pressed cane chair project):
1. Soak the cane & spline for about 15-20 minutes.
2. Lay pre-woven cane over seat opening & center it, trim extra leaving about 1" past the channel.
3. Remove diagonal strands at corners to give pre-woven cane more flexibility.
4. Use wedges to Press the cane into the channel at top & bottom of the seat. Try to keep cane fairly tight & straight.
5. Use wedges to Press cane into the channel at right & left sides of seat, again trying to keep tight.
6. Continue to work out from top/bottom, alternating with the sides. Try to keep everything tight as you work alternatively around the chair.
7. After placing several wedges around the seat & keeping fairly tight. Trim off excess cane in the channel.
8. Add horse or white glue to channel.
9. Starting at the back of the seat or a corner, press the spline into the channel. A rubber hammer may help secure the spline. Work you way around the channel.
10. As you come to a wedge, remove the wedge & keep pressing in the spline. Cut the spline off when you have completed the circle around the seat.
A More Detailed Instructions:
Clean up & prep. The old caning had a huge hole, so removal was just taking a serrated knife & cutting out the old cane. This left the old binder to be removed from the groove in the seat rails.
I did not have a perfect tool for removing the binder, so tried to make do with a utility knife & small bladed screw driver. This is NOT what I should have done.
I have since purchased a special tool, a caners chisel, that looks similar to a screw driver, but the blade is the width of the groove & the point is like a chisel with a slight curve for prying.
Now, I have found that some caners use a sharp chisel to split the binder & loosen it. Then use the caners chisel to clean the groove & to work out the old binder. Pay special attention to NOT pry on the rail, because it is easy to damage the rail & then you'll have to refinish the rails.
Here the groove is cleaned out, ready for the next step. I had to do some repair of scratches I put in the rails while trying to clean out the groove. This added a lot of time to this project.
Start The Process by laying the sheet cane over the seat & trimming off excess, leaving about an inch past the groove. After soaking cane & spline for 15-20 minutes, line up the sheet cane over the seat hole. Use the wedges to force the cane into the groove. Work on opposite sides (front/back & right/left), to keep the cane straight & tight. The cane will have a propensity to move & become crooked if not worked in from opposing directions.
After wedging the cane into the groove all the way around, use a sharp utility knife to cut off excess cane so that it does not protrude from the groove. Lay a bead of horse or white glue in the groove. Start forcing the binder spline into the groove. It may be good to work on opposite sides of the chair again, to keep the cane straight & tight.
When you come to a corner or make it around the chair, cut the binder spline to make a nice looking corner.
The End Result. Another successful caning project. Now that I have this experience behind me, I look forward to improving my technique on my next Pressed-Cane Chair project.
© Wayne Sharp, 2002, 2003, 2004. All rights reserved. All work in these instructions & pictures are my own and may not be used for profit without my prior permission.
I started to get more advice from the caning community pertaining to Pressed Cane. So here is an update, to take more tidbits from.
Donna found this Caning website & offered the following as a helpful suggestion to remove the pressed cane. Thank you for sharing your expertise Donna.
I FOUND YOUR SITE VERY INFORMATIVE. MY HUSBAND AND I OWN A WOODWORKING COMPANY AND ALTHOUGH UNTIL NOW I HAVEN'T CONSIDERED CANING MYSELF, WE HAVE HAD TO REMOVE A LOT OF PRESSED CANE TO REFINISH AND REPAIR CHAIRS. I HAVE FOUND THAT TO REMOVE PRESSED CANE, A CLOTHES STEAMER IS WONDERFUL AND MAKES REMOVAL EASY. THANKS TO YOUR SITE I WILL CERTAINLY GIVE CANING A TRY AND MAYBE INCORPORATE IT INTO OUR BUSINESS.
ABUNDANTLY BLESSED WOODWORKING" 3/04
Two Ladder back kitchen chairs, with pressed cane seats, became my next projects. I started out with the removal of the binder, by laying a good layer of wax around the seat, to protect the wood. Then using the utility knife I cut around both inner & outer edges of the binder.
I purchased a small steam cleaner to help melt the glue & loosen the binder. Another Alternative is to use Denatured Alcohol (DA) to disolve the glue. This works very well & is less mess that the steamer. DA works best on old glues & not newer poly-based glues. Also one DA may spot some finishes.
Drill about small holes into the binder about every 2-3 inches, more in the corners. Be careful not to go all the way through the seat. You should feel the drill going through the binder & stop immediately. Use the steamer to force hot steam into the holes & loosen the glue. Or use DA in the drilled holes to loosen the glue. Give DA about 20 minutes to work & re-apply as needed.
Using the bent tipped caning chisel, I worked at a drilled hole location. I was able to break into the binder, pry it up, then use the plyers to pull it out. The binder on the first chair came out almost all in one piece. The second chair must have been re-done at some point & a different, more difficult glue made more work for me.
After cleaning up the chairs from the water & glue residue. Use
heavy grit sand paper to further clean the groove & "ease" the
inner edge of the chair rail so that it will not cut the cane sheet.
After giving the groove a thorough cleaning. it is time to
install the sheet cane. Lay the cane sheet over the seat &
straighten as best as you can, from front to back. Trim off excess to
about 1" all the way around. Soak the cane & binder for about
15-20 minutes in warm water.
Remove several diagonal strands from the corners of the sheet cane to allow more flexibility.
Press the cane into the groove front/back & side/side with the wedges.
Then working out from the centering wedges, press the cane into the groove all
the way around. Small pieces of binder work well for holding the cane in
Trim off excess cane with the sharp utility knife, cutting just below the outer edge of the groove. Be careful with this step not to damage the chair, or to cut yourself!
When done trimming, lay a good bead of white glue or horse glue, which both allow plenty of set up time & the next caner to re-cane these chairs will be able to get the cane out. Starting at the back of the seat, press the binder into place, removing the wedges as you go. As you work your way around to the binder starting point, it looks very good to cut the binder to meet up at a perfect 45% match, or "back cut" the binder for an even tighter joint.
The finished products. Before returning these chairs, I gave both chairs a quick hand wax to freshen up the luster of the finish. Then celebrated the successful completion of another project.
Wayne Sharp, Copywright 2008, all rights reserved.