Wicker is a collective term that is used to refer to any type of woven furniture such as reed, rattan, cane, seagrass, and bamboo among others. In addition, wicker pertains to the very act of weaving or also means the finished woven furniture that is made from weaving different materials to form an article of furniture. It is impossible to describe the difference between rattan, cane, and wicker furniture, as rattan and cane are materials, and wicker is a process.
In order to learn more about the craft of building furniture with the use of natural materials and the process of weaving itself, it is only but ideal to identify wicker, rattan, and cane separately.
What is Wicker?
In general, a wicker may refer to a natural or synthetic vine or grass that is then woven into a pattern. The resulting form from the weaving or interlacing materials is aptly called as wickerwork. Wicker furniture is then made from weaving slender branches around wooden or metal frames to produce chairs, tables, and sofas among others. Wicker furniture are made from either natural or synthetic materials.
Depending on your preference, wicker furniture may be left natural, stained, or painted.
Benefits of Using Wicker Furniture
- The light and airy feel of wicker furniture makes them perfect for tropical settings.
- Wicker furniture looks more natural and organic which in turn complements environmentally-friendly interior design and architecture.
- Wicker furniture are highly flexible in that owners can apply cushions to make them look excellent in homes with more modern look or feel.
- The lightweight nature of wicker makes them an excellent material for infant and children’s room.
- Wicker furnishings are most commonly used for outdoor patios. It is relatively easy to move around chairs and tables made from wicker.
Care and Maintenance of Wicker Furniture
You can maintain the beauty and integrity of wicker furniture for many years if you know how to properly take care of them. The inherent nature of wicker furnishings- that which is its woven nature makes wicker more prone to dirt and dust. Here are quick and easy steps on how you can guarantee their durability, flexibility, strength, and beauty for many years to come:
- To avoid the accumulation of dust and allergens, it is best to dust and clean your wicker furniture regularly. Use a clear furniture polish to repel dirt and dust for days.
- It is ideal to protect your wicker furniture through the application of lacquer. This should be made one a year or once every two years to ensure quality and to retain the strength of the materials.
- For areas that are deeply soiled, the quick solution is to clean it with soap and water.
- To avoid accidents, make sure to smooth out the edges and rough spots with sand paper.
What is Rattan?
Rattan originated from Southeast Asia thus it is inherently a tropical palm tree. It basically grows like a tree, but eventually bends back to the ground like a vines and then snakes through the ground instead. The rattan is known to be one of the strongest woods available. This quality of rattan makes it the ideal material in the production of durable furniture for home use and installation. The Philippines is one of the main producers of rattan which are then imported to countries like the United States for further furniture processing and production.
What is Cane?
Cane is basically a part of the rattan plant. It is produced simply by peeling off the skin of the rattan vine. This material is then wrapped in solid hardwood, steel, or aluminum frames to create a more appealing furniture item. Cane as a wicker material effectively highlights the mottled coloring and pattern of rattan skin.
One great quality of cane is that it is less porous. This means that it can easily repel spillage. The remaining liquid can be easily wiped down by a dry towel. Canes are highly pliable in nature, thus it is ideally used in the production of chair seats or surface texture to the façade of furnishings.
As mentioned above, cane is also used in combination with rattan materials so as to highlight it beautifully. Unlike rattan which is most commonly treated and painted, cane is left in its natural round state. In terms of strength, cane is generally stronger than rattan, thus it is most commonly used for binding purposes.
One common quality between cane and rattan is that both of these are inexpensive wicker materials. Although most of the materials are imported from tropical countries, furniture made from cane and rattan is still considerably cheaper than those made from solid hardwood or plastic. They are also known to be very lightweight in nature. One can easily transport or move them with minimal to no hassle at all.
Lastly cane and rattan wicker furniture are environmentally-friendly! If you would like to make a change and successfully reduce your carbon footprint, one way to show this is buy purchasing or producing your very own wicker furniture made from natural weaving materials. The fast rate of growth of rattan makes it highly renewable and very environmentally-friendly too!