Rattan craft is the name given to a huge number of species of climbing palms found mostly in Asia and Africa. It resembles bamboo at the first sight but unlike bamboo which is hollow, Rattan is made up of a large number of layers.It is strong, flexible and light weight. Rattans are used extensively for the manufacture of furniture and baskets. It is also used as a clothing material and to make wicks.
The rattan furniture is extremely light and at the same time incredibly strong and easy to repair. A normal rattan chair can magically work like a rocking chair to some extent because of the flexibility. As it is soft and flexible compared to normal wood, it can be used to make intricate designs and delicate curves. Also it is made with a personal touch from the artisans thus making it unique and most of them are a single piece furniture.
HISTORY OF RATTAN
It was first found in Egypt, buried with pharaohs in the form of baskets. Later Romans took the inspiration from Egypt and started spreading it widely across their empire. Over the next couple of centuries, the rise of trade with Asia brought rattan to the West. It started to gain popularity across the world from India to West Indies to Britain. It entered America through colonists who brought rattan furniture and handicrafts like baskets with them.
MANUFACTURE OF RATTAN FURNITURE
1. Wood preparation: Good quality rattan is imported mainly from the Philippines. The wood varies in thickness, hardness, color etc. Right wood for the purpose is chosen.
2. Curing: As it is natural, it has bends and curvatures. This must be straightened for the purpose of furniture making. Some time steaming is used for easy bending.
3. Bending: Necessary bends are made by toasting on fire and steaming.
4. Smoothing: The surface is smoothened with sandpaper.
5. Assembly: Each part thus made is assembled and secured with nails. The framework is made.
6. Winding: Rattan peel is used for winding. Round rattan is used as the seating part.
7. Braiding: braiding is done from bottom to top making patterns.
8. Finishing: final touches such as coating,painting etc is done.