Preservative for caned seats?

Howie

Wooden Canoe Maniac
I'm finishing up caning some seats & seat backs, and I'm wondering what stuff to use to preserve the cane. Tung oil maybe, or would that make the cane darker? I suppose I could use 50/50 thinned linseed oil... Any recommendations? I seem to recall I saw some discussions on this topic a while back but can't seem to find it.

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I was told by the a professional that caned my seats (I'm not that coordinated!) that lemon oil (think Old English) was all they needed.
 
I tried Tung Oil. Seems to work ok on the cane, but I needed to quickly wipe it off the varnished wood lest it cause dull streaks when it dries. I've got caned seats to try next - think I'll use Minwax Paste Finish Wax on 'em & see how it works out.
 
Howie, you might also want to consider a good quality marine varnish. It would be flexible enough, and more durable and protective than paste wax.
 
Yeah... But no, a varnish doesn't seem to be a good choice to me. First, I'm not I buying the thinking that the varnish will handle the stretchieness in the cane very well. But more importantly, when applying the varnish you can hardly avoid the varnish from dripping or seeping onto the wood seat material as well. Now, presumably you spent some time varnishing the wood by sanding between coatings and feathering to blend wet varnish to create a uniform smooth coating. That's simple enough to do when just the wood is there but a whole different kettle of fish when the cane is there too. That's why I'm not crazy with using linseed or tung oil. This wax stuff (or maybe lemon oil as someone suggested) should be a simple wipe on - wipe off project. Tried to get some today, but our little hardware store doesn't carry it.
 
Howie, I wouldn't use paste wax as you will have a hard time getting the wax out of all the nooks/crannies that you have in caning. I have had very good luck 1/2- linseed oil and 1/2 turpentine, warmed (do not let it get to hot- low ignithion point-BOOM) and brushed on, and let dry. Once a year I reapply-lightly. Seems to work as I have a 22 yr.old canoe with origional caning and I use it alot exploring grandkids,hunting,fishing,etc. Another thing I might mention- If you use your canoe much, the cane will darken over time , sorry fact of nature. Think of the neighbors picket fence. yelnif...
 
I've always varnished the cane on mine. Unfinished cane gets dirty quickly and picks up moisture faster. Oiled cane is likely to darken as the linseed oil gradually turns black, and oil makes a lovely pathway for dirt, down into the fibers. Any benefit that wax might offer will pretty much evaporate away within a few months (if even that long). I haven't noticed varnish having any sort of flexibility problems and it certainly tends to keep their cosmetics pretty stable over the years. Varnishing them never seemed to present any problems. You just pick up a brush and do it. It also keeps you from putting off the job when you know darned well that the frames need a fresh coat, but are afraid you will have to try to varnish around the cane.

The bow seat in this canoe is the original 1972 cane. I had to replace the stern seat's cane, but only because I stuck the boat on a cartop rack one day that also had an outboard motor clamped to the rack. I heard a sound that sounded a lot like a propeller blade punching through a cane canoe seat behind me. This was followed by a few choice words and an eventual recaning job for the stern seat. The new cane was given a couple thin coats of orange shellac before varnishing, to match its color to the old patina on the canoe and the original seat better.
 

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Hmmmm. You've got a point about getting all the unwanted stuff off - though I imagine a soft bristle brush would make a quick job of it.

I think maybe I'll try the lemon oil route suggested by Mr RangerKevin. Guess it's a sort of furniture polish. I mean, what's the worst that'll happen - make my butt smell lemony?
 
I mean, what's the worst that'll happen - make my butt smell lemony?

And you'll end up with filthy pant seats when all of the grime from the cane rubs out while you paddle. Seats get wet and they collect grime if they are not sealed. Your lovely kacky's will get the worst of that....
When you re-varnish the seats (and you eventually will) be sure to clean the furniture wax off or you'll have a nasty varnish job.
 
First, I have a personal rule that fat guys shouldn't ever wear khaki. So with dark colors I'm safe. er. So what's worse - getting some grime on my butt or ruining my varnishing job. I know what I'd vote for.
That aside - you do have a point. I keep the canoes either in the garage or covered & under my deck at all times. The garaged one - the one I use the most - is safe, but the others... Ok... so I've got more thinking to do. It's only March and the ponds are still hard.
 
First, I'm not I buying the thinking that the varnish will handle the stretchieness in the cane very well. But more importantly, when applying the varnish you can hardly avoid the varnish from dripping or seeping onto the wood seat material as well.

Don't rule out varnish based on these concerns. I varnished the cane on seats several years ago, and it's still doing fine, no cracks or checks. And you can avoid the dripping/seeping problem if you apply and sand your pre-coats of varnish to the frames before caning, then after caning apply a final coat to everything.
 
Hmmmm. You've got a point about getting all the unwanted stuff off - though I imagine a soft bristle brush would make a quick job of it.

I think maybe I'll try the lemon oil route suggested by Mr RangerKevin. Guess it's a sort of furniture polish. I mean, what's the worst that'll happen - make my butt smell lemony?

Many of the furniture polishes have silicone oils in them. Wait until you see the headaches that will cause when you next need to touch up your finish and it's contaminated with that stuff. Lot's of fun...

Cliff
 
The consensus seems to be to varnish the cane. Makes sense. I used painter's tape to protect the already varnished wood & used a 50/50 thinned mixture of Epifanes to allow it to penetrate. Have now got a basement full of 6 seats & 2 backs drying away. Thanks for the suggestions everyone.
 
I use Zspar Captains thinned 10%. An aside to Todd, the picture is a stripper I built for my folks, now both 90 and going strong, when packing their canoe up to the cabin I carefully set in down on a lawn and heard the sound of a piece of rebar poking it's head through the stern seat. If it was easy everyone would do it. Pete
 

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Todd, the linseed oil may be why my cane has darkened-slightly- but has stayed very comfortable with no cane breakage. I always thought the varnish would dry stiff and would crack( the varnish) when sat on. I kinda like the aged colour myself, but I might try some varnish on a future canoe- it would make refinishing the seats easier.
Howie I don't think you'll be happy with the lemon pledge- Check the maintenance forum, if I remember rite there were a couple of threads on this subject.
 
The consensus seems to be to varnish the cane. Makes sense. I used painter's tape to protect the already varnished wood & used a 50/50 thinned mixture of Epifanes to allow it to penetrate. Have now got a basement full of 6 seats & 2 backs drying away. Thanks for the suggestions everyone.

That must be one loooooong canoe- hahahahahaha
 
I have a dozen canoe with caned seats. All the seats are varnished topside only. I was led to believe cane needed to "breathe".
 
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