About Us: Able to Cane
Bernard Zike has been doing business as Able to Cane for over twenty-five years. He moved to Maine in 1986 and quickly developed a clientele of antique dealers, summer residents and local folk with blown-out side chairs in the attic.
Green, when green was still just a color, he specializes in natural seating only. The Shaker tape used is 100% cotton. The reeds, caning and paper fibre rush are all from sustainable sources. At a local pond, he hand-harvests the cattails that become natural rush seats woven onto the finest antiques.
Together with Andy Abello, who recreates 17th century furniture with wood from his own tree farm, Peter McMurray, a former surgeon whose hands now construct intricate marquetry and William Evans, who hand-crafts cabinetry, Bernard makes up a quartet of illustrious furniture crafters to be found only at Midcoast Maine.
But he also gives back. Every spring session he teaches an adult education class on seat weaving, of all sorts, at the local high school, Medomak Valley. Students at the nearby Center for Furniture Craftsmanship pop into his shop occasionally with questions. For the last eighteen years, he has participated in that celebration of rural and organic life known as the Common Ground Fair.