Rattan Furniture – What it’s Actually Made Of

By April 14, 2016Our Factory, Rattan

It’s very common for homeowners to ask for rattan furniture when they are looking for something to place in the outdoor spaces of their properties. The interesting thing is that most people tend to use the terms bamboo, rattan and wicker interchangeably.

The fact is that wicker is the weave that is used to make furniture made of rattan, bamboo and other materials. Bamboo is actually hollow grass that has horizontal growth ridges all along its stems. It’s used to make furniture and accessories. So what then is rattan? Let’s learn a little more about it.


Understanding what Rattan is

Rattan is essentially a vine-like palm that’s native to the forests in Malaysia, China and other parts of Asia. The Philippines is one of the largest sources of rattan. The variety called Palasan rattan is easily identified by its solid, tough stems. The diameter of these stems varies from 1-2″ and the vines can grow up to a length of 200- 500 feet. Here are some rattan facts:

  • When rattan is harvested, it’s first cut up into pieces that are 13 feet in length and its dry sheathing is removed.
  • The stems are then sun-dried and put aside for seasoning.
  • Later, these rattan poles are carefully straightened; after which they will be graded on the basis of quality and diameter(the fewer the internodes, better is the quality), and it will then be shipped off to furniture manufacturers.
  • The reed-like inner portion is used in weaving wicker furniture, while the tough outer bark is used for caning. Today this has become the standard caning material.
  • Rattan is very pliable and strong and is a very popular material for making wicker furniture.
  • Rattan furniture looks great indoors as well as outdoors.
  • It can be curved and bent and can be used to make very beautiful furniture.
  • Its strong and sturdy, yet lightweight too- this means you don’t have to flex your muscles if you want to move it around on the patio or deck, or want to move it into storage in case of inclement weather.
  • It complements the look of casual and formal style spaces.
  • It can be used with or without cushioned seating, based on what its styling is.
  • Rattan can withstand climatic changes, is insect and moisture-resistant, which makes it perfect for outdoor applications.
  • It’s very easy to maintain and can just be wiped-down with a damp cloth or dusted as required.

Rattan – The future supply of the material

Rattan is used in a range of products – the most important being furniture. Indonesia used to be a major exporter of commercially-harvested raw rattan vine. However, by the mid-1800s, the country introduced a ban on this vine as they wanted to encourage local manufacturers to use this material in their furniture.

Till very recently, almost all the rattan used to be collected from various tropical rainforests. However, forest destruction has impacted the supply of rattan. Most countries that grow it, have now introduced regulated cultivation programs, which is a good thing. Rattan continues to be available; and its planned cultivation and responsible will ensure that it will be available in the future too.


Buy Rattan furniture from the Outdoor Furniture Specialists

We at Osier Belle are very consistent with bringing to market, outdoor furniture that is unique in design, attractive in styling, low on maintenance and total value for money. For any additional information about rattan outdoor furniture, contact Osier Belle. This is the number to call: +61 2 9946 9466; if you prefer, send us your queries using this contact us form and we will respond as soon as possible.

Thanks for reading,
The Osier Belle Team
(02) 9949 9466