I need to create/fill in a groove before I press cane into an old chair

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Jennifer8
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I need to create/fill in a groove before I press cane into an old chair

Postby Jennifer8 » Sun Nov 04, 2018 8:10 pm

I carried this nice chair home from someone's trash yesterday. Pulled off the cloth seat & foam over a board that was nailed on it (it was soaked due to rain) and discovered it originally had a pressed cane seat. I think when the cane and splines were removed, old glue pulled some wood away from the edge of the channel, leaving the original groove rather jagged and shallow on the back end. Or someone just hacked the old spline away. I would like to try to build this grove up with something strong so I can put cane webbing and spline back into the channel. The channel should be a |_| shape but now some of it is a \_| shape due to loss of wood. In the second picture, it is how it is supposed to be on the left channel, and you can see how damaged it is in the back. I'm thinking about using Bondo to fill in but am unsure how to get an exact shape. The channel should be exactly 5/32" wide, 3/8" deep. I joined this forum to get advise on this, I sure hope someone can help. Thanks!
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Last edited by Jennifer8 on Mon Nov 05, 2018 9:57 am, edited 1 time in total.

AsonnyA
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Re: I need to create/fill in a groove before I press cane into an old chair

Postby AsonnyA » Sun Nov 04, 2018 9:33 pm

Hi Jennifer. I don't think you can successfully attach any small piece to that edging or bondo it. I would fill the whole groove with a wood spline, then carve out a new groove, but I know how to do that easily and I have the tools. Seems there's only about 5"-7" of groove to repair, so it shouldn't be too difficult to repair the defect.

There may be another easier fix, though. Go ahead and cane the seat, leaving the excess cane intact, i.e., don't trim the cane once it's seated/splined into the groove. Bend the excess cane upward or to the interior of the seat (along that damaged edge) and fill the backside gap with a strand of cane. I don't think whatever gap is there will be so large that a strand of cane wouldn't suffice. Actually, that edge doesn't look to be too large, at all, to worry about it.... might not need to repair or fill it, at all. At any rate, I would cane the seat, then fill whatever gap may be along the edge. Filling the gap with the cane pressed in should be much easier, than trying to fill it before caning.

Have you ever pressed in cane before? Do you have an outlet to buy your supplies from? Some supplies/tools you can make, rather than buying them.

The whole groove looks pretty clean, but make sure it really clean, free of old glue. If you suspect there's old glue in the groove, use hot/warm water/vinegar to soften the glue and scrape it out. Once scraped, sand the groove as best you can. You want bare wood to glue your new cane & spline to.

Sonny

Jennifer8
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Re: I need to create/fill in a groove before I press cane into an old chair

Postby Jennifer8 » Mon Nov 05, 2018 9:57 am

Hi and thank you so much for your thought-filled reply! Overnight, I almost decided to put it back in the trash as I don't want to spend $$ to fix it. I'm willing to work on it, but you know how it is. Anyway, no, I've never done a pressed cane chair (but I've caned a few with weaving). Never knew how it was done until I watched youtube and thought I can do this! Then I thought about the damage. Scared the seat would eventually pull out at that area if it wasn't seated well into the channel.

Read your second suggestion twice now, about folding the cane back to help fill that groove. I'm trying to picture but can't. Most of the missing wood is on the side toward the seat. (I put a ruler in it and I can see the 1/16th" line, so there seems to be a lot of that side of the groove missing.)

When I'd press the cane into that area, do you mean to put the spline over it and then bring the cane back? I know that's not what you mean. I'm sorry.

AsonnyA
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Re: I need to create/fill in a groove before I press cane into an old chair

Postby AsonnyA » Mon Nov 05, 2018 1:53 pm

Applying pressed-in cane is easy.... you can do it. Don't be intimidated with the task. You'll need a few "tools", which you can likely make.

I'll gather a few things and take pics, to show you..... hopefully this evening. I might not have time, today, as Mom is under Hospice care, so I may wait until Wednesday or Thursday.

Take a look at this site and see what "hole" size cane you'll need. For that chair, for that size seat, you may want the W901U cane, unbleached, 1/2" open mesh.
http://www.franksupply.com/caning/press ... ml#webbing

Measure the width and length of the seat, as per the groove parameters. The cane you buy needs to overlap or extend beyond the groove parameters by 2" all around. Example: If your chair seat measures 18" deep by 15" wide, then your cane needs to be 22" deep by 19" wide. The spline size is specific for the size (width) of the groove. The spline size is not determined by the groove depth, but the groove depth needs to be the same depth all around. Buy 1 foot extra of spline length.

I'll pause for now. Think about what's here, then ask any further questions you have. make a list of concerns. Planning well prevents any problems, but pressed in cane is easy.

Sonny

AsonnyA
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Re: I need to create/fill in a groove before I press cane into an old chair

Postby AsonnyA » Wed Nov 21, 2018 1:05 pm

Finally getting back to the party. Hope I'm not too late.

Re: First 2 pics here - https://www.flickr.com/photos/43836144@N04/
First pic shows various widths of small wood slats. They are about 1/8" thick. These are used to hold the cane in place, once the cane is pressed into the grooves. This pics also shows a homemade wedged hand tool....

Pic 2 shows the wedge tool's tapered edge/end.

You can fabricate your own simple tools, as I did. Paint stirring sticks, cut in 4" lengths, would suffice for the slats and likely the tool for initially pressing the cane into the grooves. You might break a few thin pressing tools, as you need to press kinda hard to get the cane into the groove properly, i.e., deep enough. You want to press the cane all the way to the bottom of the groove, hence the cane needs to be soft enough to bend that deep, without breaking. Use the thin slats to coax the cane, a little length at a time. Work the cane into the groove a little at a time.

Once a DIYer becomes accustom to caning, these slats may not be needed, as with the pro in the video below.

You will soak your cane in hot water for at least 20 minutes, maybe more, to soften it. The soaking time depends on the cane size.... larger cane requires a little more time soaking. You want to make sure it is soft enough that it doesn't crack or break, when you press it into the grooves. You use a wedge type tool to press the cane into the groove and use the thin slats to hold it in place, while you press the next inch or 2 into the groove. You will repeat this process all around the seat.

This video is a pretty good teaching demo. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DdOJfyouk2Q
What I don't agree with, in this video, is, at the beginning (words on the screen) they state to soak the cane and the spline. I don't recommend soaking the spline. If you soften the spline, it will be crushed when you hammer it in. Even in the video, it seems the spline is still hard, so I don't think the guy soaked the spline. Soften spline will cut easily, not requiring a pounding with a sharp chisel, as was shown in the video. They make mention of using a block, to further drive the spline into the groove. A softened spline will crush using the block, as well. For your initial short spline piece (as used/shown in this video), initially holding the cane in position, you may practice with dry spline and softened spline, to see the difference in the two applications. I highly suspect you will crush the softened spline.

Start your caning in the front center, align the weave, then set the back center in place.

With regard to your damaged groove that is too wide, go ahead and set your cane and spline in place. On the outside, where the cane edges flair up, insert some sort of small wedging on the backside of the cane, to push the cane/spline as far to the interior as it will go. Don't cut off the excess cane until it has dried. Once dried, affix/glue, as best you can, some sort of permanent wedging in that small space. Once the glue has dried, then cut the excess cane away. If need be, use small tacks or finishing nails, to hold the spline in best position along that damaged groove area. It's not uncommon to use small nails along the spline, anyway, especially in the corners, for many DIYers and some pros.

Sonny


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