What it takes to restore antique wicker

Every once in a while we come across a beautiful piece of antique wicker that needs some serious repair. Although there are things you can do to touch up the wicker, a serious repair should be taken to a professional.

Analyze whether or not the wicker is work repairing. Some wicker may be beyond repair or too cost-prohibitive to even consider it. It may also be too intricately woven to do at home, so be sure you feel comfortable enough with your weaving abilities to keep this piece from having additional repairs later.

Turn your furniture around and check the sturdiness of the frame. If there are any wood screws missing, now is the time to replace them. This will give you a secure frame to work with.

Clean your wicker with mild dish soap diluted with water and let dry for a day.

Review the arms, legs, and seats for visible signs of damage. These are the most common places and are typically the easiest areas to repair.

Glue any loose strands that haven’t begun to work themselves out of the wicker weave.

Start with repairing these areas first. Wicker around the feet or legs of a piece of furniture is traditionally wrapped and can easily be replaced with a wicker repair kit (available on Amazon or in one of your local craft stores). Soak the cane pieces for about a half an hour in water or until it is pliable. Wrap the piece around the leg and secure with epoxy glue made especially for wood.

You may find you have to replace and reweave some of the strands. If this is the case, begin by pulling out the old strand and cutting it just above the damaged region. Use the cut piece to measure your new piece of can. When measuring, be sure to add two inches before cutting with a utility knife. Weave the new piece of cane back into the piece in the same pattern as the original design. (take a picture if needed to use as a guide for weaving).

The new piece of cane may not be the same color as the original piece of furniture, so you may need to try out different stains if you want to keep the natural color of the cane. If you are going to repaint the piece, try to use spray paint. It has better coverage and will get into the small areas of the wicker weave.

Finish with a varnish or polyurethane coating to preserve the piece.