Our Standard Staining Advice: “Friends Don’t Let Friends Stain Cane”
Cane should not be stained. Most stains will not penetrate the natural bark of the cane. It tends to be uneven and doesn’t dry on the surface properly. At the same time, stain will cause the cane to dry out, become brittle, and will decrease its life by half. The best course of action is to allow the cane to age and develop its patina naturally.
Many different stain formulas now exist: oil-based, aerosols, gels, wiping stains, etc. We don’t test ANY of them since they’re not designed to penetrate the natural bark surface of cane. Variations and irregularities in the color WILL definitely occur. The attempted staining of cane is best left to qualified professional furniture refinishers who have their experience with chair cane as a guide. Further, cane doesn’t possess the absorption characteristics of wood. There is no comparison. We stand by our advice that you should let natural aging develop the patina and color of your chair cane. Yes, we frequently see modern furniture with stained cane. That doesn’t make it right. We cannot be responsible for staining results on chair cane.
If you really decide that you want an aged color- other than the natural way of letting it develop its own patina with time, you can use an oil stain. TEST IT FIRST on a swatch. We cannot be responsible for your staining results.
Other customers have suggested tea as a natural darkener. Try it first with some scraps. Naturally you have to stain with tea before you put the cane in the chair.