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devil duck


A year or so ago we bought a set of six Stickley chairs at an antiques auction. They all needed to be re-caned, so we looked up some YouTube videos on how to do that, and put the chairs in the basement awaiting re-caning.

Naturally, that hasn't happened yet. But a few days ago shalmestere mail-ordered the materials, in hope that their arrival will spur us to actually do the job.

The YouTube videos seem to assume that you're winding your "fiber rush" (i.e. fake cane made of recycled paper) directly around the edges of the chair. If you look closely at the above photo, you'll see that the "caned" part of the chair is a separate piece that drops into the receptacle formed by the four sides, so the precise technique shown in the videos won't work: you need to be able to weave over and under the sides, dozens of times (multiplied by six chairs), frequently using both hands, which is difficult if you're also holding the seat-bottom. So I built a jig from scrap lumber left in the garage by the previous owner:

It looks cockeyed because it is, because the chair bottoms are not rectangles but isosceles parallelograms; the sides have a slope of about 1/10. I thought that was enough to warrant chiseling a slope at both ends of the stretchers to accommodate the square legs.

And here it is doing its job:

BTW, the jig is sitting on my "carpenter's bench", which used to be a butcher's block in a neighborhood restaurant that was going out of business. The "crafts area" in our basement is cramped, cluttered, poorly lit, and a work-safety nightmare, but better than none.