Staining and matching cane
Sat May 11, 2013 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 stained for over 38 years and a few years back I decided to try lacquer on a refinisher's recommendation.

Simply reading the detailed instructions given on these posts should be enough to discourage anyone. Lacquer is totally unforgiving and prematurely hastens the brittleness of cane. Why else would we be replacing the cane backs on dining room chairs (no weight stress) that have been stained and coated with, you guessed it, lacquer? I've just removed the backs of 6 dining chairs and would be happy to mail anyone a sample of this extremely brittle cane. I've seen it time and time again.

The lack of forgiveness of lacquer was well illustrated by the person who correctly stated that he had to remove and replace the loom woven cane because it was too dark. Wiping stain, on the other hand, allows 15 or 20 minutes to adjust the color to suit. I've lightened up seats that were a little too dark with the first application. Second and third coats are also adjustable to color darkness or lightness.

Also, lacquer is subject to blushing, according to humidity, I guess. This will really make you pull your hair out on a hand caned seat!

For my time, I'll apply Old Masters Wiping stain and move on to the next project instead of spending time taping, mixing and applying lacquer. It's not worth all of the extra effort.

My 2 cents worth. You be the judge.

David W. Dick

  • staining and matching cane JIm Widess, Thu May 9 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... more
    • Staining and matching cane trees4277, Sat May 11 11:45am
      • 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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