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staining and matching cane
Thu May 9, 2013 12:42pm

Since I believe that the underside of cane seats should remain completely unsealed I use aerosols. I don't refinish furniture so I have no need to mix colors and use a spray gun. Instead, I use Mohawk brand (for the trade) tone finishes. These are lacquer based, spray stains. I find that the pigment sticks very well to the cane. They are transparent so I can spray one color and then tone it with a 2nd coat of another color. They dry very fast - minutes. Then I spray a top coat of satin lacquer to keep the color from chipping with use.

I've been doing this for 42 years. I've observed that when cane seats come in that have broken (not my work), the area that goes first is where the previous caner had brushed on a stain and on the underside the stain has flowed around and blocked the cane's pores. This stained area is brittle while the rest of the cane is still flexible. Using the aerosol stains keeps the color on the top side and still allows the cane to breathe and absorb oils and moisture to remain supple.

Of course we have to tape and mask off the rest of the chair when we spray, but that's just the cost of doing a professional job.
Jim Widess

  • Staining and matching cane trees4277, Wed May 8 11:12pm
    Find and try Old Masters Wiping stain in Early American or Golden Oak. I don't wipe it but use a brush. Usually takes just one but sometimes 2 coats for a perfect match. I've used it successfully for ... more
    • staining and matching cane JIm Widess, Thu May 9 12:42pm
      • Staining and matching cane trees4277, Sat May 11 11:45am
        After reading all the posts and reflecting on my past experience with lacquer, I'm more convinced than ever that "Friends don't let friends use lacquer on cane". Let me explain. I've caned and... more
        • staining and matching cane JIm Widess, Sat May 11 1:44pm
          Hi David. I maintain that the reason that those lacquer stained backs you described were so brittle because a heavy coat of lacquer was applied to the back of the cane and sealed up all the pores. I... more
          • staining and matching cane littlejackhorners, Sun May 12 7:59am
            I agree with Jim and use a similar method. We often need to color cane panels to match other chairs in a set. We use oil stains to start the coloring and follow with aerosol lacquer toners to blend... more
      • staining and matching Jared Chafin, Thu May 9 3:57pm
        Jim, I did try a can of the Mohawk toner. I guess it takes some practice. My spraying ability was found lacking and I had to replace the sheet of cane I had just installed.
        • Spraying Toner Steve ProFinisher, Sun May 12 12:42pm
          If you don't get the color you wanted, it is not necessary to replace the cane. It can be wiped off with a lint free rag and lacquer thinner. Be careful not to get the lacquer thinner on any of the... more
          • Re: Spraying Toner Dan Alleger, Sun May 12 5:29pm
            True, but it is all but impossible to get it out of every tiny crevice where the strands cross. Been there. A toothbrush helps. If you're going to spray toner, go lightly and build the color a little ... more
        • staining cane JIm Widess, Thu May 9 7:19pm
          Jared, set up an easel with a large piece of paper on it. Stand back about 2 feet. Make sure you have shaken the can thoroughly and can hear the ball rattle inside. Hold your spray can pointing about ... more
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