Hi everyone, I have been lucky to inherit 2 cane chairs and a large coffee table that once belonged to my grandparents. They had this furniture before I was born (38 yrs ago). As you can imagine, this furniture has a lot of meaning to me and I’m looking for ideas on how I could revive it. I’m hoping someone can give me some guidance on A) restoring the cane to it’s natural self or B) Painting the cane.
Thank you in advance. Any ideas and suggestions are welcome!
Welcome to the Bunnings Workshop community @Diy_Shell.
I can understand the furniture must be very special to you and you want to be careful restoring it. We'd love to help. Can I please suggest you share some photos so members can see what condition the pieces are in and be in a much better position to suggest next steps? Please let me know if you need a hand sharing some photos.
We're looking forward to seeing how you can restore the furniture to its former glory.
Thanks for joining in the discussion. Please don't hesitate to post anytime you need a hand. We're pleased to have you join us and look forward to reading about all your projects and plans for all around the house and garden. We're sure you will get plenty of helpful information, advice and inspiration from our amazing community members.
I have attached a couple of pics of the chair arms as they show the worst of the wear. Thanks for getting in touch! Again, any suggestions are more than welcome!
Thank you for sharing your question about how to paint cane furniture.
You have a few choices on how to proceed. It all depends on what you wish to do with these chairs. Do you wish to keep its character and not change anything about it, but keep it protected at the same time? Do you want it to give it a fresh new look? Do you want to colour it? I've written some options for you to consider.
Please look carefully at the chair and make sure that it is still structurally firm should you decide to sand it down. Cane chair bindings will sometimes become brittle as time moves on. It may be something to consider as it becomes another item that you may have to repair.
Here is a handy step-by-step guide: How to restore wooden furniture
We look forward to seeing your chairs restored and ready for use.
Hi DIY Shell,
I paint a lot of old furniture and have dealt with cane furniture often. In your case, if it was mine, I would give it a light sand using 240 grit sandpaper. Personally I would do this by hand. You'll find the varnish, being so old, will be quite brittle, so should come away quite easily. If you intend re-varnishing, best to sand all the varnish off. It'll be tedious, but worth it in the end. If you'd rather paint it, then all you'll need to do with the sandpaper is get it to a smooth finish, and won't have to thoroughly remove it. Wipe it down afterwards with metho, which will remove any excess dust, dirt and grease. I generally just use a spray paint, such as Rustoleum Primer + Paint, which has very good adhesion. It comes in a wide range of colours, although classic white (in Rustoleum it's Blossom White) will team with any decor and fabric. Go for either a satin or full gloss finish so that keeping it clean will be easier.
I'd love to see what you do with the chairs. Good luck!
Thank you so much for joining the discussion. Let me tag @Diy_Shell so that they are made aware of your recommendation. Your suggestion of hand sanding the furniture is excellent. Due to the age of the chair, the varnish should come off quite easily. I would suggest a darker fabric for the re-upholster to hide stains if the chair is to be used often. If you have any future projects you would like to share, please make sure to keep us updated.
It's awesome to hear that you are looking to restore this furniture that your grandparents obviously held dearly for such a long time.
My dad has a lounge suite that is older than I am, and still in use today. It has had multiple reuphosters over its life but continues to be an excellent piece of furniture.
The suggestions of @EricL and @LizzieCro are great, and obviously give you a number of options. I'm a bit of a sucker for natural wood finishes so I like the idea of giving it a gentle sand back, possibly even a light stain to bring back some colour, and then a fresh coat varnish.
Whichever path you go down it would be great to see the finished product if you could upload some photos when you're done!
Best of luck 😃
Thank you for all your advice! I went and picked up the detail sander yesterday from Bunnings along with some other bits and pieces to start my project. After reading the replies on this thread I’m feeling very confident in starting. I will get started later in the week and keep you updated on my progress.
once again, thank you for taking the time to help out!
Hi @LizzieCro , thank you for taking the time to help out! I’m pretty set on the idea of painting and I went to Bunnings yesterday and picked up the pain you suggested in Blossom white. I will keep you updated on my progress.
Thank you for your help!
Hey @tom_builds , thanks for your advice! It’s really cool to hear about your Dad’s lounge suite! They really made furniture to last back in the day!
I’m pretty set on painting but also definitely love the natural wood look…. Dilemmas…. Either way I have given myself until the weekend to get started so will definitely know what I’m doing by then (hopefully) I will keep you updated.
Again, thanks for taking the time to help out.