How Natural Rattan is Made
Curious how Natural Rattan is made?
Great, our own Bob from Wicker Warehouse has provided all of the details below. Wicker Warehouse has been in business since 1978 and is available to answer questions on purchasing and protecting all Natural Rattan furniture from 9 - 5 Monday through Friday and 9 - 4:30 Saturday Eastern Time. Give us a call at 1-800-274-8602.
Everyone loves Wicker Furniture. To fully understand the way wicker is made we must know that Wicker is not a material - it is a weaving process.
Wicker furniture is available in different grades. If you are looking for wicker furniture for outdoor use then be sure to purchase one made from material that can be left outdoors all year round with minimal to no maintenance. Pick outdoor wicker furniture made from materials that will weather nicely. Aluminum holds up. Steel can easily rust.
So then what materials are used to make wicker furniture? Rattan is the primary material that natural wicker products are made from.
Rattan is a vine like plant that grows in very long stalks.
Like plants there are lots of different types of rattan. Rattan is a very, very strong material that grows in the tropics. The harvesters actually climb these long vines, cut them down and bring them to the factory where they are cleaned & bleached so there are no blemishes. Then these rattan poles are processed into sizes that are suitable to make furniture from.
A wonderful benefit of rattan is that when it is harvested it grows back very quickly. This makes it green friendly and you can feel good that your furniture does not contribute to deforestation. We find the best quality rattan grows in Indonesia so we source our Rattan from there.
Being a natural resource of Indonesia the people there have become master furniture makers. Rattan products are made using the same tried & true methods of carpentry used in making regular furniture. Rattan poles are solid all the way through as opposed to bamboo which is hollow.
Natural wicker furniture can be used throughout your home. There are lots of different sizes and designs. Rattan chairs & sofas can be made full size to house big thick seat & back cushions and also made midsize to house seat cushions only. We offer Wicker Rocking Chairs, coffee tables, end tables and more.
It is very popular in sunrooms, on porches and in guest rooms & bedrooms. It is often mixed
with fully upholstered furniture. In living rooms and family rooms. Bathrooms & parlors also feature wicker chairs, stools and shelves for the walls.
We are sure you have seen some very beautiful interesting designs being used in your favorite resort or restaurants.
Rattan dining sets are extremely popular. The rattan dining chairs are made as arm chairs, side chairs or with casters.
Natural rattan framed wicker products are loved and used to create interesting designs everywhere!
So how do we care for it and keep it looking great for years to come? Normal dusting & cleaning are a start.
Mixing a little gentle dish detergent with water and wiping it down will clean most dust that may accumulate in screen porch areas.
Glass tops are often a good idea. They will give you a flat surface, protect the table tops when you are placing things on top of them and prevent the dust from gathering in the wicker weave. We also need to use our common sense. If you place your furniture in front of
a heater you will eventually dry it out. Natural Rattan is porous and must be used indoors or very well covered outdoor areas
If it is left out in the rain it will get ruined. Beautify your home with fabulous wicker furniture. Be creative and select the frame colors and fabrics you like best.
This is a step by step of How Quality Natural Rattan Chairs & Furniture are really made.
- First we take very sturdy broom handle size pieces of rattan poles.
- They are cut to size & put into a steamer so they are pliable. The steamer is a large tank of water
- With a wood fire under it. The poles are placed in the steamer & then the poles are left to dry for 1-2 days.
- They need to be moist all the way through but not wet.
- Then the poles go into a form that is the desired shape of the furniture.
- When they cool they stay in that shape.
- The poles are then assembled, nailed & screwed using the traditional methods of furniture making.
- Then the bindings are done. This means the weaving or wrapping strands of rattan over the carpentered areas so you do not see them.
- Not only are the poles assembled for a beautiful design, but many are placed below the seat area
- and to the legs to insure strength and a long lasting piece of furniture.
- The frame is now complete and the designs on the inner portion of the frame will now be made.
- The inner part of the frame is now drilled out and more usually smaller rattan poles are strategically
- Attached to create the decorative design that the furniture will feature.
- Now the frames are ready to be painted or stained.
- To make sure the poles are smooth and ready to be finished the poles are gone over with a light flame of fire.
- This is to burn off any “hairs” that maybe on the outside of the poles.
- Then everything must be sanded so the furniture can be stained or finished the right way and stay that way indefinitely.
- A plastic glide must be placed in the bottom of each leg.
- After the finish is cured the frames are paper wrapped, bubble wrapped & boxed so they travel safely.
The above description is for Pole Rattan Furniture. To make a Wicker Chair or wicker Furniture the process is the same only Wicker Furniture requires a second step of weaving & attaching smaller textures of wicker over the rattan poles.
The poles are processed down to “spaghetti” size or any other desirable size & then these smaller pieces are woven over the rattan frames. Remember, Wicker is not a material it is a weaving process so when you see portions of the furniture that have woven areas the chairs are now referred to as Wicker Chairs or Wicker Furniture.
Now you also understand why Woven Wicker Furniture is a little more expensive to make than Pole Rattan furniture as it requires more raw material and more labor.
There are more little steps, but this is a summary that will give you an idea of what goes into making quality wicker & rattan furniture. There is lots of work that requires lots of skill. This furniture is 100% made by hand.
We also have a full Wicker Buyer's Guide you can read.