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Rattan is a vine like wood, grown in the tropics, that resembles bamboo but, unlike bamboo, rattan is solid timber throughout. Rattan is a member of the palm family. It grows in a manner similar to a vine (like ivy) growing as long as 600 ft. It is a solid and pliable wood with a hard outer shell and tough fibrous center core. Once it is stripped of it's tough bark it can be heated by flame or steam and bent into many shapes. The vine grows deep in the tropical rain forests of the Far East. Harvesting is done completely by hand since the jungle terrain will not permit use of vehicles or machinery. While being lightweight, rattan is stronger than most woods used for furniture and will withstand tough daily use with little care. Heavy rattan poles are used to make traditional rattan furniture and as framing for wicker pieces.


The woven part of Rattan & Wicker furniture is wicker ("wicker" means woven). The term wicker originally comes from an old German word meaning "to weave". Wicker is made from the center strips of rattan poles while the outer bark is used for caning and binding the larger poles into furniture frames. Wicker also refers to woven furniture and accessories and can be made from many materials, including rattan, willow, reed, and other plants, as well as paper, metal or resin.


Rattan and wicker require very little maintenance for a lifetime of beauty and use. Only occasional dusting and cleaning are needed. Rattan pole frames will need only a light dusting or a damp cloth may be used. The same steps are true of wicker frames. An occasional vacuuming with a brush attachment will easily free dust from the weave.

Wicker and rattan are two of the most maintenance free furniture materials you'll find. Occasionally wipe down the furniture with a damp cloth. On stained finishes you may want to apply a light coat of lemon oil for sheen and protection. Natural wicker and rattan should not be exposed to the direct sun for extended periods or left out in the rain.


Synthetic Wicker however, usually does well in the elements and may be washed with soapy water and hosed down for cleaning.


Today, rattan grows mainly in southwest Pacific jungles and is made into furniture in China, Indonesia, and the Phillipines. Assembling and finishing are often completed in the United States to satisfy American tastes. Frequently, rattan furniture is used in traditional full service hotels in lobbys, restaurants, and in the rooms themselves.

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