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McCullough steamer used to remove cane spline

Today I’m starting another blog series and hope to continue this every week called, TUESDAY TIPS!

Each Tuesday the tips will vary and might be as in today’s tip, on chair caning tools.

Or the topic might be on basketry or a type of chair seat weaving, wicker repair steps, hints, tips, great tools or even on rustic furniture making!

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Here’s a great tool tip!

Using a hand-held steamer similar to the one in the picture, to soften and remove the glue in the groove of a spline cane chair seat makes quick work of removing the old cane and spline.

Protect the wooden finish with painter’s tape first, which is what I forgot to do in this photo. But the finish didn’t get damaged, luckily.

Then drill several holes through the spline but be careful not to drill too far and go into the wood beneath the spline. Using short bursts of steam in the drilled holes will soften the glue so removal of that spline will be a quick as a wink.

Using  a steamer to remove chair cane spline from seat.

You’ll wonder why it took you so long to discover this tool. What a time saver! Here’s a YouTube video I made on removing chair cane spline with a steamer so you can see it in action.

Holes in the frame too crowded? Widen them out with this tool

The icepick, a terrific chair caning tool

Frequently the holes drilled into the framework of a hand caned seat will fill up because several strands of cane are going into the same hole.

Use an icepick or
long, thin awl to make room in the drilled holes. Put the icepick in the hole and “ream” it out by forcing all strands to the outer circle of the hole, then you can insert more strands!

Last caning tool I can’t live without

Bevel inside seat rail edge before weaving the seat.

Always bevel or round off the 90º inside edge of the chair seat frame, no matter what kind of seat you are putting in; hole cane, sheet cane, rush, splint or even Shaker tape and Danish cord. If you don’t, that sharp edge will cut the materials and your seat will fail prematurely.

Use either a wood rasp or this handy Stanley Surform Shaver to bevel or soften that sharp edge, then go over it all with a piece of sandpaper to smooth.

Hope this helps!  What are your favorite chair caning tools? Leave a comment and also SHARE this with other seat weaving friends.

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