Years ago, my father taught me how to weave cane furniture. He told me it was a dying art, and I have respect for that. But it’s also a time consuming talent and that requires patience…something I don’t have in abundance. I know how to do it, but it’s not my most favorite thing to do.

So when I went to New York recently and he loaded me up with things to bring home to salvage, I told him no woven cane because I didn’t want to replace it, but I also refused to cover it.

But pressed cane was okay.

So he gave me this table…

canetablebefore1I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with it, I just knew I wasn’t going to replace the cane.

So after I finished the dresser I’d been working on, I turned my thoughts to this table.

The first thing I did was remove the old cane.

By the time I had that done, I had decided I wanted to try an insert in the center where the cane had been removed.

I traced the center on a piece of pine that my father had given me on my New York trip. I cut it out on the outside of my tracing because while I knew the center had perfect 90 degree corners, I knew my cut wouldn’t.

It’s good to know your weaknesses, kids.

Because I was right.

I sanded it down until it fit snug, but not too tight.

I considered covering the insert in fabric, but I wanted to try something a little different.

I took two full sheets tissue paper, and cut it so it fit the entire board with some overlap for the sides. I wadded it up so it was crumpled and wrinkled, then mod podged it onto the board.

When that dried, I stained it with Minwax Early American and when that dried, I applied a few coats of polycrylic, because that’s what I had on hand.

This is what I ended up with…

StainedTissuePaper1As the center insert was drying, I sanded the rest of the table and applied some of the Minwax stain.

I hated it.

With the way the insert took the stain darker in some spots, and then the table doing the same thing, but still different because one was wood, one was paper, it was the furniture equivalent to wearing plaid and stripes together. It was horrible. I didn’t even want a “fail” picture. And, oh it was a fail.

So I decided to paint the table, and went with a dark brown that closely matched the darker areas of the insert.

Once the paint had dried, I tapped the insert into the center of the table with my rusty hammer and a towel so I didn’t dent the wood.

It fit perfectly.

I still need to do something with that groove though…

The tables not painted, but this is the groove that runs around the table where the old cane had been pressed in.
The table is not painted yet, but this is the groove that runs around the table where the old cane had been pressed in.

I added some trim that closely matched the light parts of the insert by hot-gluing it in.

And then it was done…


beforeandafterThanks for stopping by!

12 thoughts on “Pressed Cane Table Makeover

  1. “Rusty”. hammer, or trusty hammer??? LOL. I love what you did with the center!!!

  2. I realize this is an old post, but what a pretty piece of furniture you have now.

  3. That table looks awesome. I have 6 caned back chairs and yes they are drying out. I wonder if I could do something with the back of those chairs. Any ideas.

    1. Hi, Cathy! If you mean something other than replacing them with new cane then I’m not sure. This table insert was fairly easy because it was a plain geometric shape, and easy to cut (even for me, lol). I was originally going to cover it in fabric. Each step on the center piece was an experiment, something I’d never tried before, that luckily worked out fairly well. I’m sorry I couldn’t offer more ideas, but I do hope you have fun experimenting with them 🙂

  4. That is absolutely gorgeous. How clever and creative and a beautiful piece! I hardly every comment, but I couldn’t help myself this time. Really beautiful!!!

  5. Beautiful. Very nicely done, and I love that you shared your failure but still ended up with a beautiful piece. Too often our failures make us throw up our hands and give up. I am removing pressed cane from 6 dining chairs, and viewing your method has given me confidence to get started! Thanks.

    1. Thank you so much, Pat! I usually share my failures because by the time I post them, I’m usually in a place where I can laugh at them and/or I have learned from them…hopefully someone else can too. I’m so happy that this has given you the confidence to get started on your chairs…those are my favorite kind of comments! 🙂

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