Rattan is a durable but lightweight material, that is typically used to make conservatory and garden furniture. It is a type of long and woody vine, grown mainly in the tropical jungles of Asia – and Vietnam, primarily, – it has a tough but solid stem and can grow as high as 500 feet.
When rattan is harvested, it is cut into lengths of about 13 feet and the outer layer of dry sheathing is taken off; its stems are put out to dry in the sun and then stored, before being treated. This procedure involves, straightening the long poles and grading them in diameter and quality. The material is then sent out to furniture manufacturers, where the exciting process of rattan, being made into furniture begins.
A lot of skill and patience is required when making rattan furniture, there are 3 stages in the production of rattan furniture.
The first stage of production, involves steaming the long rattan poles and bending them according to a particular design shape. This can be done using a jig or a mold. Once the pieces are completely dry, they are then put together to make a frame. Some furniture manufacturers prefer to use nails to assemble the pieces, while other’s prefer screws, either way, a rattan peel is used to wrap the frame, this gives the item of furniture a very neat and attractive finish.
The second stage of production, involves weaving – this is a painstaking process and depending on the complexity of the design, the item of furniture can take up to a week to complete. There are two types of weave; one is an open weave and the other is a closed, tight weave. The more expensive rattan furniture, tends to comprise of a tight weave, as it usually takes longer to complete than the open weave.
This is the finishing stage, which involves many steps before completion; sanding in between each of the steps is crucial in ensuring the item has a smooth and flawless appearance over all. The steps involved in the finishing stage include:
Applying a first color coating a second sanding, applying a second color coat, doing a third standing applying a lacquer to the rattan
What To Look For When Purchasing Rattan Furniture
When trying to find pieces of good quality rattan furniture for your home or garden, it is worth noting that a reputable furniture manufacturer will always source the best quality rattan strands that have been finely matured, to ensure that the furniture is durable and sturdy.
The rattan should always be bleached before being used, so that it produces a beautiful color in the finishing stage. Cross- braces should be attached to the furniture to reinforce it, making it last for years to come. Rattan manufactured in Vietnam is always the best.
Taking Care Of Rattan Furniture
As tough as rattan furniture is, it is never wise to leave your item out in all weathers as rain and sunlight can damage your lovely furniture.
Cleaning rattan furniture is very easy, simply remove any dust with a vacuum and use a cloth with hot soapy water to remove any dirt. Mold is no reason to panic, if you notice it, give it a wipe with undiluted bleach. To bring out the best of your rattan furniture, apply a coat of lacquer to it every few years.