April 26, 2010

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Okay all you DIY’s (Do It Yourselfers), here is what you’re getting into!  As I was gutting out machine cane from some bauhaus style kitchen chairs, I decided to take some photos to show y’all the joys of caning:

After loosening the glue with vinegar, use a hammer and thin flathead skrewdriver to pry out the old spline on the INSIDE edge of the cane.

By now, you know how to tell if you have a machine woven/pressed cane chair. Here is what you’re going to have to do to remove the old seating from the chair. It can be frustrating or it can come out easily. Sometimes chairs that have already been repaired are more difficult to remove because of excess glue or gouged out grooves. Tools you will need include a utility knife, vinegar and an eyedropper (its just less messy), a thin flathead skrewdriver, hammer, pliers, and patience (see initial post). Don’t strong arm it or you’ll mess up the frame!

Sometimes the spline pops right out....Most often though, it comes out in jagged pieces and you have to use a chisel and plyers and lot and lots of vinegar to get all of the pieces out.

And now you are ready to lay out the sheet of wet cane, hammer it into the groove, cut out around the edge, insert the spline to measure the size appropriately, cut, lay a line of glue in the groove, hammer in the spline, clamp and….most importantly, don’t leave it and trust that it’ll dry okay…watch, adjust clamps, and (if necessary) use wood filler to fill in gaps that other people (certainly not you because you were careful!) may have created when they carelessly gouged out the old spline.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…don’t try to stain it yourself…take it to a professional. Good luck!

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