How to Remove a Hole Cane Strand Seat

I am frequently asked how to remove a hole cane seat, easily. So I thought that might make a good topic here on the Weavin’ Wicker Woman blog.

Hole-to-hole chair cane seat before removal
Traditional strand cane seat before removal

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First thing is to assess the cane seat and take pictures

It’s always a good thing to take pictures of the chair and seat before you remove anything. By taking pictures first, you can assess the overall condition of the chair itself, see if it needs regluing or has any missing parts, or needs to be refinished.

You can also examine the cane pattern to see where and maybe why it failed in the first place.  And if the weaving pattern was at fault, you will then know what “not” to do when you reweave.

Or maybe the wrong size cane was used and was too weak to support the sitter? Maybe the previous weaver didn’t bevel the inside edge of the frame and the cane broke at that spot?

Next Step–Cut and remove all cane loops, strands and binder

After taking pictures and close examination of the chair is to turn it upside-down and cut the individual cane loops on the bottom of the chair seat. Be careful you don’t scratch or damage the wood when you use your sharp basketry scissors or utility knife/box cutter to do this.

cut cane loops on bottom
To remove cane strands, cut loops on bottom of chair frame, pull out from top

Are there a lot of knots on the underside? Then cut them off, too. Otherwise, it will make taking the strands out from the top side more difficult.

Then I turn the chair right-side up again and using either a pair of basketry scissorsblank (putsy and takes forever) or a box cutter/utility knifeblank, (faster method) I cut out the woven cane from the center of the seat.

remove center woven cane
Remove all woven cane from center

Then cut the binder cord and loops in the holes. Then with your hand, you can pull on the binder cord and most of it will come up easily.

Finally–Clean out all holes and remaining cane strands

Pick out all the remaining cane sections and binder cord from the holes using your hands and/or a pair of pliersblank, don’t forget to remove the cane from the bottom side also.

If you still have some stubborn cane in the holes, you can use a caning awlblank, tin punch or even a drillblank. Drills are especially handy if you have stubborn or glue-filled holes, to force the cane out from the top side, down.

remove cane from seat
Pull on binder cord and then pick out remaining strands in holes from the bottom

Hole-to-hole Cane Seat with Woven Cane Removed

strand cane removed from seat
Hole-to-hole cane seat after cane removal

Oops!–Remember to always bevel the inside frame edge

But before you begin weaving your chair caning project, there’s one more step to complete. Remember to always bevel or round off the inside frame edge using a wood raspblank, file or Stanley Sureform Shaverblank tool.

bevel seat frame edges
Bevel or round off the inside frame edge of chair seat before weaving your cane seat.

If you forget to do this step, your cane will not wear as long and might fail shortly after you’ve woven that brand new seat!

Here’s a little Chair Caning Tip of the Day Video to see what I mean by beveling the inside edge of the seat.

All done and ready to weave that hole-to-hole cane seat!

hole cane seat cleared of cane and edge beveled
Chair frame cleared of all strand cane and inside rail edge beveled

Check out the Chair Caning Instructions page for weaving that new cane seat? Enjoy! And let me know in the comment section below if you have any questions and if this post has been of help to you.

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4 thoughts on “How to Remove a Hole Cane Strand Seat”

  1. blank

    I am re-caning some dining chairs from the 1870s for our home. In doing the caning I am finding the individual strands are breaking at the hole edges in some places. Is it OK to bevel the hole edges a little so the cane is not broken when inserting the pegs? Some of the holes are quite worn are the pegs have to be snug or the strands just come loose. I also considered drilling the holes to even them up. Comments? Ideas?

    1. blank


      Yes, it’s certainly alright to bevel the inside edges of the drilled holes if you like, certainly won’t hurt anything. But I can’t advise you on drilling more holes to even them up. I’d need to see the chair first and then make my assessment as to whether or not you need more holes. If you’d like, we can schedule a paid consultation. Just go to the Contact page and make your request.

  2. blank

    I have an old chair which I hope to replace the seat with sheet cane. I have read many of your tutorials. My question is the seat is basically trapezoid in shape, yet the corners are all rounded. Original install has the spline going around the corner vs. 45 degree cut and mitering the corner. Should I follow suit? Also, do I really need all 3 sizes of chisel? Thank you!

    1. blank

      Hello Deb,

      Thank you for visiting my site! Yes, you are correct to use one long piece of spline to go into a rounded corner pressed cane seat, just the same as a completely round seat. Make sure the spline is a couple inches longer than needed and either make a butt joint or diagonal join in the back of the seat. You can follow the directions here in my How to Install Cane Webbing Instructions instruction page. And did you see the previous instruction page on How to Remove Cane Webbing Instructions? Hope this helps!

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