Eastlake Sewing Rocker [ brocken cane rail ]

This Eastlake style sewing rocker, circa 1880, came in to the shop with a broken and missing cane rail. I was told that someone had knelt on the seat and that the piece was lost.

Here we see where the missing piece was.

Step one is to remove the old cane by cutting away the cane below the seat rails with a chisel. There are two types of caning, this one where the cane is woven right on the chair and the type where the cane is prewoven in a sheet and pressed into a grove in the top of the seat rails.

Once the cane is removed from the bottom of the seat rails the rest will just pull out of the top.

A better view of the broken rail. You can see it broke along the grain through the drilled cane holes. This is a common problem but usually the piece is not missing.

Next the rail is trimmed with a bull nose plane and chisel to create a flat glue surface.

A replacement piece was shaped and glued in place.

I used a divider to mark the position of the new cane holes. I used an awl to start the holes so the drill would not wander.

A backer board was clamped to the bottom of the rail during drilling to insure clean exits on the bottom.

After the cane holes were drilled, I drilled five holes through the edge of the repaired rail between the cane holes.

Dowels were glued in with hot hide glue to reinforce the repair.

When using dowels, I roll a spiral dent into the dowel with a triangle file. The grove relieves the pressure created when inserting the dowel.

The completed repair with a coat of shellac.

With the cane replaced.

Colored to match the old back cane.

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About millcrek

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6 Responses to Eastlake Sewing Rocker [ brocken cane rail ]

  1. Marilyn says:

    Wow! I bet the owners are very happy with the repairs. Very nice.

  2. What did you use to color the cane? It looks like a perfect match with the older cane.

    • millcrek says:

      I used a combination of pigment stain and lacquer toner to color the new cane. The stain was a combination of yellow ocher and raw umber. The toner a combination of burnt sienna and burnt umber and a little van dyke.

  3. Gary Newland says:

    Thank you for the great tuorial! Do you do the caning yourself or send it out? The color looks great.

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