What is Rattan and Wicker?
by, 06-19-2012 at 12:44 PM (88 Views)
Rattan is a vine that grows mainly in Southeast Asia. Known for its incredible strength, Rattan is still used in the construction of many suspension bridges throughout the world. Rattan’s natural beauty and strength has inspired craftsmen for centuries to make intricately designed furniture from it.
Wicker means "to weave", or "woven." The main wood used to weave wicker comes from the center of the Rattan pole, which is known as "Rattan Core." There are other types of material used in the wicker process, however Rattan Core is the most common. Pieces that have an overall appearance of woven Rattan Core are referred to as Wicker furniture.
The name “Rattan Furniture” is used to describe furniture with that is predominantly constructed with larger rattan poles up to 1.5” in diameter. Unlike common hardwoods such as Oak, Maple, or Cherry - Human hands cannot break a 1 inch thick x 3 foot long piece of rattan. The fibers within the rattan pole make it one the strongest woods in the world. Rattan is also one of the lightest woods in the world.
What Do I look for in Quality?
Pole thickness and clarity are 2 key characteristics when searching for Quality Rattan. For example: Many Sofas, Loveseats and Chairs can have 3 poles of rattan on the armrests. Over 95% of these triple armrests sold in Canada are only 3.7” wide. We’ve innovated our designs to incorporate larger, higher quality poles that measure 4.35” across. The result is a drastic transformation said to compare to the Volkswagen – Cadillac effect.
Next there is the clarity of the rattan pole itself. A good comparison is one looks like dirty glass while the other looks like clean glass. Better poles have fewer blemishes and look richer. We have a few samples of inferior rattan in our stores, so you can see the difference up close.
The latest techniques include computer assisted frame design, ensuring maximum frame strength. It is these improved construction methods that have made rattan furniture a superior product for everyday use throughout the home. Everything from the new improved "leather binding" which is used to conceal the wood joints on the rattan frames, to the beautiful high quality finishes now available, rattan furniture will give you years of pleasure and durability. All rattan poles are screwed together, any binding used is purely for cosmetic purposes only. Unlike traditional woods, rattan is fibrous. It is these fibers themselves that make rattan one of the strongest wood types in the world. Harvested and manufactured predominantly in Indonesia, rattan is steamed, allowing it to be bent into various shapes that make up the beautiful designs we associate with rattan furniture.
Fabrics are of the highest quality, and are updated regularly by our designers to keep up with the latest trends. Each print is carefully scotch guarded, a free service by us to ensure maximum durability. The single best quality of rattan furniture is when you are ready for a new look several years down the road, it only costs a small fraction of the piece's value to change the slip covers, a service we provide in our in-house cushion department! You can avoid outrageous recovering charges associated with normal upholstered furniture, which is why rattan is so popular for rooms with high sun exposure!
Maintaining rattan is much simpler than you may expect. You can clean your piece by vacuuming it with a bristle brush attachment. A rag with warm water and mild dish detergent works well to get stains out. A light coat of lemon oil applied with a rag or paper towel twice a year will protect your finish and add to it's shine. We recommend brushing urethane or varathane on your Rattan every 12 - 15 years as you would a hardwood floor to prolong its durability. Although rattan is not affected by extremely cold temperatures, it is an indoor product and should not be exposed to the elements. An unheated sunroom will not harm your rattan furniture or upholstery. Placing your rattan near or over heat vents has never caused problems for our customers in the past.
Our outdoor resin collection is made sturdily from rust proof aluminum frames. It is exquisitely woven with high quality polyester resin that is both ultra-violet and mildew resistant. With our stylish designs, our outdoor resin is easy to clean with mild soap and water.
For tougher stains, patio furniture cleaners can help get them out. To reduce cleaning intervals, apply car wax to your resin every 2 years. We strongly suggest using "Wipe on - Hose off" wax brands.
Teak (Tectona Grandis) is renowned for its beauty and the ability to withstand the extremes of all climates. Ship builders and sailors have known its value for centuries.
Teak is a tropical wood whose durability and natural protective oils ensure generations of use and elegance. It is the first choice for long lasting marine and outdoor furniture.
Left alone teak's golden brown color will change within a year to a lustrous silver-grey tone. Teak Gardens supplies it's furniture with no oil or finish. To maintain or increase a darker lustre a yearly oiling (with high quality teak oil) can be applied as follows:
- Scrub furniture with soapy water, rinsing with a garden hose. (note: Teak deck cleaners are readily available in marine shops
- Furniture must be completely dry, otherwise moisture trapped within the wood may cause black mildew spots to appear after oiling. Your furniture may take over 48 hours to dry out fully after a rain.
- A smoother finish can be obtained by sanding with fine sand paper (No. 500).
- Ensure the teak is clean and free of dust.
- For outdoor furniture use high quality teak oil. This is available through marine suppliers.
- Follow the instructions on the teak oil for application.
- For super smooth finish, apply oil two to three times and sand between the layers with fine sandpaper (No. 500 preferred).
- Teak oil will trap dirt and darken with age. Should this occur, scrub and preferably sand to remove old oil and then re-coat.