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Rattan 101

What It is – and isn't

Rattan isn't wicker, but wicker can be rattan. Confused? Keep reading and you soon won't be.

Rattan is a prolific climbing vine found in tropical climates throughout the world. Some species can grow more than 300 feet in length. It's abundant, sustainable and incredibly versatile.

Wicker is a general term used for woven furniture and home accents, and has been popular since the pharaohs. How's that for a design trend? It's often made with rattan, but not always. Wicker can also be crafted of bamboo, twigs, seagrasses – even banana leaves. Some of Amanda's wicker accent pieces, including her signature lanterns, are handmade from bamboo.

At Amanda Lindroth, we make our wicker furniture frames from rattan because it's naturally strong, pliable and beautiful. We use only the highest grades of rattan, hand selected for its smooth, uniform color and dense grain.

Rattan cane

Cane is made from the outer skin or peel of rattan, and can be produced in many different gauges, so it's ideal for weaving everything from chairs seats and headboards to fine accent pieces. It's also used to wrap wicker furniture joints and to add an additional design element. Amanda loves woven cane for its naturally beautiful finish and rich texture.

Rattan reed

Reed comes from the rattan core. It's thin and flexible, so it's great for weaving backets and wrapping complicated curves. Unlike rattan cane, reed doesn't have a natural finish, so it can be painted or stained easily. Amanda's popular Palm Beach Totes and whimsical Pagodas are hand woven of rattan reed.

It's not bamboo

Bamboo resembles rattan, so they're often confused. Both grow in tropical climes, but they're structurally very different. Rattan is a solid vine, while bamboo is a hollow grass with pronounced "knuckles" where the leaves grow. Rattan's leaf nodes are smoother and less noticeable. Both are very strong, but used differently in furniture making and wicker applications. Amanda incorporates bamboo into her lanterns and picture frames.
How we use rattan in wicker

For framing

We build our wicker furniture frames from solid pole rattan. About the thickness of a broomstick, the poles are steam bent according to Amanda's design, and dried into their final forms for assembly. For storage pieces like dressers, chests and bookcases, rattan is combined with wood in the completed piece. All of our frames are nailed or screwed together, ensuring strength and durability. Rattan peel is often applied as a design element and for added support.

For weaving

Every Amanda Lindroth natural wicker piece is made by hand, taking from several days to weeks to complete, depending on its size and complexity. Weaves can be open to create an airy, geometric design, or closed for a solid look and feel. The tighter and more intricate the weave, the more time it takes, making it a good indication of the wicker's quality.

How we finish rattan wicker furniture

Each piece of Amanda Lindroth wicker furniture goes through a careful, multi-step finishing process:

1. Rattan is washed & dried
2. First hand sanding
3. Base color applied (if any)
4. Clear, low-sheen lacquer applied
5. Rattan is re-sanded
6. Second color coat applied (if any)
7. Second clear lacquer coat applied
8. Final sanding
9. Finishing wax applied
How we finish rattan wicker baskets & accessories
Like our rattan furniture, Amanda Lindroth wicker baskets and accessories are beautifully handmade using a careful, multi-step finishing process:
1. Rattan is washed & dried
2. First hand sanding
3. Base color applied (if any)
4. Clear low-sheen lacquer applied
5. Rattan is re-sanded
6. Second clear lacquer coat applied
7. Final sanding
8. Finishing wax applied.


How to Care for Your Rattan Wicker

We want you to love your Amanda Lindroth wicker just as much in the years to come as you do the day it arrives. To keep your wicker piece looking great, just follow these simple guidelines:

1. Keep it protected. Moisture and sunlight are wicker's worst enemies. We do not recommend leaving any natural rattan outdoors or exposed to the elements. ?
2. Clean gently and regularly. Clean your wicker regularly by vacuuming with a brush attachment or use a soft damp cloth. Furniture polish isn't necessary, but can be used sparingly. Never use paint thinners or abrasive creams. If needed, clean your wicker with mild soap and water to remove grime and restore the patina. ?
3. Dry thoroughly. If cleaning with a damp cloth, be sure not to soak your piece. If it gets too wet, dry it in the sun if possible to prevent warping and mold. ?
4. Once a year, do a deep cleaning. Use a solution of mild soap and water to clean your piece all over, then dry it as quickly as possible with a hair dryer or by placing it in the sun. Once your wicker is completely dry, apply a coat of clear, low-sheen lacquer to seal it until next year's cleaning. ?
5. If mold or mildew develops. Wipe the affected area with a sponge or soft cloth dampened in a solution of ? cup bleach to one quart of water. Use a toothbrush dipped in the same solution to reach tight spots. Wipe down the entire piece with a fresh damp cloth or sponge to remove any bleach residue, and then allow it to dry outside on a sunny day. If your wicker still shows signs of mold or mildew afterward, repeat the cleaning process. ?
6. Protect furniture feet. Use felt pads or rubber stoppers on furniture feet to protect your piece and your floors. ?
7. Avoid extreme heat. Keep wicker away from extreme heat to avoid warping and splitting. If you live in a particularly dry area, use a humidifier to moisturize the air. ?
8. If you spot a split or crack. Apply a small amount of linseed oil or wood moisturizer to help the wood recover. It won't heal the crack or split, but might make it less noticeable.?


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