7 Steps to Install Pre-Woven Cane

Headboard with pre-woven caneWhether it’s a chair seat or cane panel, pre-woven cane replacement can be a rewarding DIY project.

For those who like to do it yourself, here’s a quick how to guide you should read.

These seven basic tips can make any cane-it-yourself project easier. It’s not rocket science, it just takes time, patience, and ability to work with your hands.

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1. Measure and Order

Match the size of the holes in your existing cane to order a new pre-woven cane sheet. Also, size the groove width to order your new spline (slightly smaller). For example, a 1/4 inch groove will take a 3/16 inch spline.

The overall size of the cane sheet you order should be larger than the size of the area you need to replace. Your supplier should be able to help you order correct sizes. If needed, we have listed some of the most common caning supplies and tools here.

2. Out With the Old

Woven cane removed from headboard panel

Remove the old cane with scissors or a utility knife.

Using a sharp chisel will help you pry the cane and spline out of the groove. This will require the most time and physical strength of all the steps.

3. Prep is Key

Be sure the groove is completely cleaned out.

Use 80 grit sandpaper to sand the groove. This would also be a good time to sand any sharp edges that the cane may rub against once installed.

4. Get Everything Together

Have your pre-woven cane sheet and spline cut (oversize) and soak them in hot water for 30 to 60 minutes. This will make your materials manageable with less risk of breakage during installation.

The following tools will be needed within reach:

Installing pre-woven cane into the groove

  • Hammer
  • Chisel
  • Scissors
  • Wedge

5. In With the New

Lay your new cane sheet in place, and align as needed.

Carefully work the cane into the groove using your wedge. Pressing the cane to the bottom of the groove all at once will cause it to break. It’s best to gradually work the cane down, rather than force it.

Your cane should be pressed fully into the groove with the excess overhanging the outer edge.

6. Trim & Press

Excess pre-woven cane trimmed and ready for spline

A sharp chisel can be used to trim the overhang just below the top of the outside edge.

Before installing the spline, apply a line of wood glue that will run down each side of the groove. Just remember – the groove is not a moat, so try to resist filling it with glue.

Fit the spline into the groove by hand (tapered edge is the bottom). The ends should meet tightly without a gap to look best.

Tap the spline down further or until flush using a narrow piece of wood and hammer. Wipe any seeping glue with a damp cloth.

Allow to dry for at least 24 hours. After this dry-out time, your new cane will be nice and tight and ready to use as is or color and finish.

7. Finishing Touches

Color of new woven cane to be matched to old sampleColoring your new cane is an important step for antique furniture. This produces an aged look and also helps match what was existing.

On this restoration project, we mixed a custom color using Japan Colors, sealed with a coat of shellac.

However, you can color your new cane with just about any oil-based stain, such as Minwax or Zar brands. When the stain has dried, we recommend applying a light coat of shellac to seal it.

New woven cane colored to match the original piece

For more information on how to replace cane, check out the books and DVDs we have listed.