Tsue ~ That's What She Said: Restoring Wicker Patio Chairs

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Restoring Wicker Patio Chairs

Old Wicker Chair, Wicker Caning

When we bought our new house a couple of years ago, I remember someone telling our Realtor that  we didn't mind looking at houses that required some work.  Well, someone, was very naive.

After looking at hundreds of homes on line, and a goodly number in person, we fell in love with a traditional colonial that needed a great deal of updating.  Okay, okay.  Nearly the whole house needs updating.  But when you've already fallen in love with the in ground pool and the master bedroom, what's a few (hundred) home improvement projects, in the grand scheme of things, right?

We are making progress...but much more slowly than we had ever anticipated.  By a long shot.

Now that's it summer, our indoor projects are temporarily abandoned for rainy days and we are working on our screened porch/outdoor living space.  During the warm months, second only to our family room, it is one of our most popular "rooms" and overlooks the pool.

In the move, we gained a significant amount of square footage and were lacking in all the furniture needed to fill it.  Especially for the porch.  Someone decided wicker would look wonderful.  Someone, with all the other pending purchases, suffered extreme sticker-shock when they shopped for new wicker.

Not to be discouraged, I scoured Craigslist and found some fantastic pieces at great prices.  Okay, maybe the pieces weren't currently fantastic, but the potential was there.  With a bit of love.  And know-how I didn't possess. (did I mention that the hard-working hubby has put a moratorium on new project purchases until our current batch are finished?  LOL poor guy)

How hard could refurbishing wicker be?  Surprisingly, very easy!
For the most part, the wicker was in good shape, with the exception of the legs, the caning on which had come loose and was quite ratty.  Although the pieces were not of a set, their shapes had similar elements and needed continuity of color.  Cushions were weather worn and needing.

After a bit of online searching, I found instructions for re-caning the legs and a site to purchase the binding cane, The Country Seat.  After a few weeks of watching our local home improvement stores' ads, I was able to purchase Rustoleum Ultra Cover spray on sale, nearly 50% off, with a rebate to boot!  I chose Kona Brown as the new hue.

The re-caning went smoothly, although it did take some time.  The binder cane needs to be soaked in water for a couple of hours until it "bends like string".  Best to only remove the strips you'll use immediately, as they will dry and harden relatively quickly in the warm summer air.  I removed the old binder, used small finishing nails to attach the new, wrapped the legs.  After re-wrapping the first leg a couple of times, I found my rhythm and the balance of the legs were a cinch.  I added a number of finishing nails per leg, to ensure the wrap remained taut.

Before spraying, I cleaned the chairs, removed flaking paint from one that had been previously painted and let them dry thoroughly.  Painting, even by spray, took much longer than I had anticipated.  Inherent with woven wicker, after a drying, it seemed for a time that I found a spot here and a spot there that had been missed.  Patience at this stage will be required.

Now all that's left to do is select a new fabric to cover the existing cushions and enjoy them.  I'm already taken with the new color!

Wicker Chair, Wicker, Caning

New similar pieces at Pier One range from $150 - $230 a piece.

I spent:
$90.00 on  pieces: ($5, $25, 2 @ $30ea)
$25.00 on binder cane
$24.00 on paint (less the rebate!)
$25.00 max estimate on fabric and such for refurbishing cushions
Four rehabbed pieces for the price of one new chair!

One project (mostly) done, only 999,999 left to go!

The opinions above are both honest and of my own experiences.  Images sourced from freedigitalphotos.net and Dreamstime.com.


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