How To Remove Pressed Cane

Cane furniture is a piece that is easily recognized by the woven section in some part of the furniture, usually a chair.
There are two types of cane furniture: woven and pressed. Woven cane is a time-consuming method that involves weaving the cane in four directions: horizontal, vertical and two diagonals. You can recognize this type by the holes that frame the cane part of the piece.
Pressed cane comes already pre-woven and can be recognized by the groove that runs along the outside edge.
With either method, over time the cane tends to get dry and brittle and ends up tearing. Once that begins, it needs to be replaced.
To remove pressed cane, it’s best to start by cutting out the majority of the cane to get it out of the way.
Next, carefully run a sharp edge around the edges of the spline that are tucked in to the groove, being careful not to gouge the wood, to help loosen it. To begin prying up the spline, look for the spot where the two ends are mitered together.
This is the easiest spot to begin. Gently pry it up until you can get a small chisel-type tool underneath. There are special spline removing tools that you can buy specifically for this. But if you’re a use-what-you-got kind of person like I am, you use a small flat-head screwdriver, and a hammer.
Tap the chisel, or screwdriver, gently with the hammer until it’s wedged underneath, then gently wiggle it up until it loosens. Continue this all the way around until the spline is completely removed, again being careful not to gouge any of the wood.
There will be dirt, gunk and old dried glue in the groove that you’ll need to remove. I had the best luck with my cheap $10 rotary tool (someday I’ll own a Dremel)...
...and good old-fashioned sanding.
Now you’re ready to finish your furniture makeover.
Susan @SalvagedBySusan
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
  3 questions
  • Penny Penny on Apr 16, 2016
    Where do you get the replacement caning for the chair backs?

  • Sdl3468597 Sdl3468597 on Apr 18, 2016
    How would you insert fabric into the part where the cane was removed? I have an armchair that I removed the cane on the back of the chair and would like to finish it with fabric in the rectangle slit for the backrest!

  • Pam Pam on May 04, 2016
    I have a bench like this but it has queen anne legs. I want to paint it and insert a board or something so it it can have a padded seat. Any suggestions how to cover it to the edges?

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2 of 10 comments
  • Carol Carol on Apr 18, 2016
    I have used the prewoven cane for a chair and it was easy enough to do, so don't be afraid! Susan, I hope you will do a second part to your post, showing how to do it.

  • Trudy Trudy on Apr 18, 2016
    You can also teach yourself to cane. It is time consuming, but like many tedious things it is a labor of love. You have do it for a project for yourself, no wants to pay you for that many hours.