How to replace a machine caning for a chair

We received a lot of calls about replacing the caning for chairs. First of all, you will have to determine if the caning is machine or hand caning.

  • Machine caning is sold in a roll with different shapes. Choose the one matching the original caning. You will also have to pick the size of the spline you will use to replace the old one. The spline is a little piece of wood fixing the caning in a groove all around the perimeter of the caning. It is sold in different sizes, generally a number determines the width of the spline.
  • Hand caning is a 7 step process. You buy the cane and hand weave the holes after holes until you get the right pattern. It is time consuming and much more difficult than the machine caning. You will have to train quite a lot until you get a good result. It is also much more expensive than the machine caning.

Operations to replace machine caning

  • Remove the broken caning from the chair with a utility knife.
  • Remove the spline from the groove. You will have to use a very sharp wood chisel the same width of the groove. You can use hot vinegar to try to dissolve the glue holding the spline in the groove. Be patient, do not damage the wood. It is not always an easy task. When the spline is off, clean the groove thoroughly.
  • Buy a piece of pre-woven cane sheet to fit the chair, adding 1 inch all around so it is a larger perimeter.
  • Soak the new caning in water for about half an hour.
  • Fit the caning in the groove of the chair using a small wood wedge pushing the wet caning to the bottom of the groove.
  • Be sure the tension in the caning looks even on the chair. It takes a little patience to fit the caning correctly. You have time as the caning is wet and you can play with it. Do not puncture the caning with your wood wedge!!!
  • If the caning looks good, apply wood glue in the groove and fit your spline over it.
  • Wipe the excess of glue with a wet rag and let the caning dry for 24 hours.
  • After the drying time of the glue and the caning, use a utility knife to trim the excess of caning around the perimeter of the chair.
  • Stain and finish the caning to match the old one.