How to Restore Cane Furniture


Cane furniture is a popular furniture item in the South, for it fares well in hot and humid temperatures. Over time, however, cane can become brittle and break or the strands can begin unraveling. Cane is used as part of the seat on wooden chairs and for backings. Most cane furniture being restored will have to be newly weaved. Depending on damage, a full weave might be required.

Things You'll Need

  • Quality wicker cane
  • Golf tees
  • Warm water
  • Large plastic bowl
  • Spray bottle
  • Acquire quality wicker cane from a supplier. The cane weave will come rolled. If you are repairing cane furniture that has ready-made holes in the frame of the wood or seat, use golf tees to hold the cane in place while you're weaving.

  • Soak the roll of cane for 10 to 15 minutes in warm water in a large plastic bowl. Water will make the cane more supple and keep it from drying while you're working with it. Dampen existing cane already on the furniture with a spray bottle filled with water. Damp cane fibers will bond within the weave of the new cane strands being added.

  • Run your finger along the top of individual cane strands before weaving. If the cane strand is not smooth, turn the weave around so the barbs are facing away as you weave. The natural barbs on cane strands can catch on existing cane while weaving, causing tearing.

  • Begin weaving. Keep a straight edge, and pull tight. Cane will have to be wet and wrapped around the edge of furniture to secure in place if there is no hole in the frame of the furniture. If there is a hole, use a golf tee to hold the cane in place in the hole within the furniture frame.

  • Bring the cane up through the second hole in either direction, left or right. Pull the cane tight, and put another golf tee in place. Repeat until the first layer of cane strands cover the entire surface of the seat or furniture being restored. Take the cane and come across in a ninety degree angle, over the first weave, and repeat the process working parallel, pulling the cane tight. Secure in place as you go with the golf tees, or secure cane by wrapping around edges. There should be square shapes formed by crisscrossing the cane strands.

  • Repeat steps until several layers of thick and strong woven cane is achieved. Go under the first strand, and up over the second one to form a smaller square pattern when weaving parallel on the third layer. Use the spray bottle filled with water as you go along to keep the cane damp, and make sure the cane doesn’t twist while weaving. Though time consuming, most cane furniture can be fully restored using this common parallel weave.

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  • Photo Credit cane table lamp image by fotomagic from golf tees image by Joel Telling from green spray bottle image by Jim Mills from finger image by Stepanov from chair image by jeancliclac from back of a rocking chair image by Miguel Montero from Background texture - natural wickerwork handmade image by Florin Capilnean from
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