Just scored an oak&cane rocker, it's weathered and has some photosynthesis on the cane. How can I protect the cane while using BLO on the wood? or is it ok to use it on the cane? (which is in need of repair or complete replacing).

  • Sounds like it might be best to remove the cane before working on the chair frame. If the BLO gets on the cane it will tend to dry and fill the gaps which will not look so great. – Ashlar Sep 10 '16 at 21:42
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    Photosynthesis is a chemical process of plants. Do you mean UV damage or something else maybe? I was not aware it was something you could see. Do you have a picture which goes a long way? – Matt Sep 11 '16 at 2:51
  • @Ashlar Not much danger of BLO filling the gaps with gummy residue when the last step in application is to remove all excess :-) Only the oil that has soaked into the wood should remain if oiling is being done properly. – Graphus Sep 11 '16 at 7:21
  • Thank you all for your help. Matt, the cane is green on a small portion of the seat like it was sitting under a tree. Except for that the cane itself sustained minimal damage, I really don't wanna have to replace it if it to can be rejuvenated, at least for a few more years.There is no finish or paint on it – Sage Sep 12 '16 at 1:19

it's weathered and has some photosynthesis on the cane.

If this is moss growth you should remove it before continuing. A putty knife, small wire brush and toothbrushes are good tools to get rid of it.

or is it ok to use [BLO] on the cane?

Yes you can oil the cane the same as the wood. Cane is a woody material that, just like bamboo, reacts to oiling pretty much exactly like wood does. However, I think you should be careful about choosing to do so.

It is quite traditional not to use finish on the cane itself, but to finish the frame and then do the caning work. Where a finish was applied to the whole chair it would generally have been a film finish (shellac or varnish or lacquer). If previously your piece was varnished most guides would suggest you strip back to bare wood and refinish from scratch, It's possible to revive and add new finish to both shellac and lacquer since they remain soluble in their original solvents.

You may want to rethink oiling this if the whole chair or the oak frame was previously finished with any of the film finishes since at best you'll give a temporary 'lift' to the appearance. Over time the oiled portions will darken the wood much more than where the film finish remains, so they'll stand out quite noticeably.

If you don't want the trouble of going back to bare wood it's much better to use wax than an oil. Common furniture paste wax (e.g. Johnson's) is a perfect choice, no need to get anything more sophisticated than that. You can also make your own, see previous Answer.

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