Seat re-caning


I guess that I have been lucky up to this point. All of my canoes are old enough to have caned seats.

All except my beater Penobscot. This canoe has the impossible to replace routed frame with the single piece caned insert and GLUED IN rush insert.
OMG, what a PITA! :eek:
I must have spent two hours digging out the old glue and cane. No wonder people buy new seats instead of fixing them.

It occurred to me that smarter folks have done this repair and that they must have some tricks to share. Is there a better way than digging the old seat material our with a knife and chisel? Can you run a small router bit through the old material without destroying the frame?

I am very interested to hear how others have done this repair.
RE: Cleaning out the groove

MGC - I agree, it is a PITA. I've found two things that are worth a try. A router bit of the correct groove width in a drill press, and block-up on the table so you can easily move the seat around while the bit spins. But some glues turn gooey, so the bit has to be cleaned often. And second, I took a piece of flat steel the width of the blade in my spoke shave, then ground both sides off so that a single 'tooth' the width of the groove remained in the center. Grind a sharp edge on it, and put it in the spokeshave. So in essence you have a hand plane. You then have to go through the groove several times, lowering the 'tooth' a bit at a time, but the glue does not turn to goo. Good luck, mccloud
Another trick to removing the glue is to pour vinegar into the groove. It usually dissolves the old glue no problem.

Here is a slick movie. Check it out, especially after about 4 minutes. She claimed to have finished removal of the cane in about 5 minutes.

I haven't tried this, and it will take a little investment in a steamer, but if you factor in the cost of a trip to the ER, I think I would come out ahead. (long story):D
Seat caning

Unless historic restoration is important or you really enjoy the time and tedium of hand-caning the factory caning and spline seat can be converted to the traditional holes for hand caning. With proper jigging rout out the spline groove and glue in a well fit solid wood spline of matching wood. Drill out the correct sized and spaced holes and after re-finishing the seat is ready for hand caning.

After having just built a pair of walnut frames, drilling all the holes, and hand-caning the seats - for the experience :) - buy a set of new seats!
Well, as I noted, this OT Penobscot is my beater.
All I care about is having a place to sit without my rear hanging through a hole. Style points are not a factor.
At this stage I have gouged out the old spline and wicker and I am ready to put cane back in.
Next time I'll try some of these tricks.
I actually have several frames that were given to me by folks that opted to replace rather than repair. I might experiment on those.

Some interesting ideas have been presented!