Preserving Cane Seats

So the new old Penobscot needs a little TLC. The Wooden seat frames are going to get a few coats of spar varnish but am unsure what to do for the cane ( which is still in excellent condition.) Something like 303 or is there something better?

Not 303, but you can varnish the cane.
303 is not for wood or vegetable matter. It’s for plastics.

I’ve often heard it recommended that cane webbing should only be varnished on the top side. Supposedly, you can’t really waterproof it no matter what you do, so why try. Varnish on the top helps reduce wear and tear, while leaving it unvarnished on the bottom side lets it dry much faster once it does get wet. I can’t say for sure that topside-only varnishing is best, but it’s a popular method.

I’ve varnished the tops of the cane seats and it works ok, but eventually the varnish will have to be removed and that won’t be fun. I think I’d try tung oil on the cane, will waterproof it somewhat and let it breath too and won’t need removal.

Bill H.

wonder if varnish would crack w time
I’m thinking maybe something like a wipe down with Thompson’s Water seal?( Not sure if this stuff is natural cane or some sort of synthetic.) Maybe I’ll write OT and see what they recommend.

I use tung oil
sparingly and on the topside only. I apply it to cane maybe twice a season, though I do the wood much more often. I also try to keep the cane from getting wet as much as possible, even to the point of laying my kneeling pad or PFD over it when at night when camping to protect it from rain and dew.

When it is wet from rain or a dunking I try not to stretch it too much by sitting directly on it till it dries some - while it is drying I’ll lay a pad on it to spread the weight or try to just kneel against the front of the seat.

Recaneing is inevitable eventually though. Seven to ten years seems to be about what I get out of a cane seat before it needs serious attention.

Perhaps there are better ways to extend the life of a cane seat, and I’m open to suggestion, but in the meantime this works pretty well for me.

terminal case of cane
Cane seats need to be replaced with use.

I hit the tops with polyurethane, seems to work as well as watco or linseed oil.

Stock up on some cane and reed and after a couple of tries it will be an easy task.

Actually if the cane is allowed to dry between uses and the natural oils are kept in them, the surface should last nearly forever. I’ve had 30 year old cane seats that looked and worked like new.

Always check your pockets before you sit on one, only takes one time with something like a knife in your back pocket to rip the cane.

Bill H.

Spar on the wood, watco on the cane.
At least that’s what I do. The cane flexes so much that I think after some good sun/butt exposure varnish would start to flake off. So I feed it oil, never a problem.