When one talks of cane or wicker furniture, one is really talking about the material used for weaving and wicker is the weaving process itself. This kind of furniture is also referred to as rattan furniture.
To understand this let us see what these terms mean:
Rattan is produced from a jungle vine found predominantly in the regions of South East Asia, mainly Indonesia, parts of Africa, Central and South America, Philippines and Malaysia. It is also available in Assam. Rattan, a close relative of the palm tree, is one of the strongest woods available and is mostly used for garden furniture.
Cane, a part of the rattan plant, is obtained by peeling the skin of the rattan. This is used to bind the rattan wood pieces and also to weave the seats and other surfaces due to its thinness and pliability.
Wicker is the process of making the furniture and has a distinct identity. Any furniture product woven from vines or stems is called wicker.
Most wicker, rattan or cane furniture, as they are often referred to, is of the garden variety. These are often part of outdoor furniture gracing verandahs or patios. But these days, they have also been popularized as indoor furniture. These types of furniture are light weight, strong, durable and extremely popular.
The rattan wood is versatile and readily accepts paints or varnishes. You can, therefore get this type of furniture in teak or rosewood finish. It can also be painted in many colours and are generally found painted white or green.
In recent times, synthetic rattan furniture has become popular due to environmental pressures and the scarcity of the natural material being available. They look like the natural product and have the same elegance though. They are available in various designs and colours to suit your homes.
How do you maintain your cane furniture?
This type of furniture is more prone to accumulation of dirt and dust due to its inherent woven nature. But maintaining your ‘cane’ furniture is not a difficult task. A routine maintenance is all it needs. Regular dusting and wiping is good enough, Care should be taken that the furniture is not roughly handled.
For indoor ‘cane’ furniture:
Use a moist cloth dipped in pleasant smelling disinfectant to wipe the furniture.
Since the furniture has many interstices, you may use a used-toothbrush to ferret out the dust from them. Ordinary wiping with a cloth may not help much. Use a soft brush to remove dust and wipe it clean. Ensure that you do not damage the weave by aggressive brushing.
If your furniture has the rattan exposed, you can wipe these areas with a soft cloth dipped in a detergent solution. Ensure that the cloth is not soaking wet, especially if the rattan is varnished. If you accidentally use a soaking wet cloth to wipe then use a hair drier to dry up the excess water from the furniture.
Painted surfaces can take the excess moisture. But it must be wiped dry.
It is also advisable to use lacquer on the exposed rattan, periodically, to retain the varnish.
If you notice any cracks in the wood used boiled oil, preferably linseed to restore the cracks. Do not use raw oil as this will not dry easily.
For outdoor ‘cane’ furniture:
Since they are exposed to the elements of wind, sun and rain, more care needs to be given. Expansion and contraction of the wood will happen when it is outdoors. You may notice cracks in the wood and varnish fading or the paint peeling. Besides, if you have pets then the furniture needs to be protected from these pets.
Therefore, regular maintenance is a given. The outdoor furniture will gather more dust and dirt than the indoor ones and therefore, daily dusting and cleaning is required. All other care as mentioned for indoor furniture will also apply here.
The wicker, rattan or cane furniture, by whatever name you call it, will last for many years such that you may hand them over to the next generation, provide to take care of them.
Stanley Varghese for IndiaProperty.com