What is rattan?

The differences between rattan, wicker, cane, bamboo.

Long gone are the days when furniture was restricted to very few materials like the hardwood and softwood trees; mahogany, cider, to name a few. Nowadays, there is an extensive range of items to be used to make furniture, and over the past year, rattan and bamboo furniture has gained a lot of popularity. It is often confusing to most people whether a piece of furniture is rattan furniture, bamboo, or cane at first glance, and even after a closer look, some would still not tell its type. Therefore, rattan, cane, wicker, and bamboo- what is the difference?

Rattan is a plant in the same family as the palm tree that grows in South East Asia. It also grows in the tropical regions of Australia and Africa and has over six hundred species. Its vines are the material used to make the numerous gorgeous and unique pieces of furniture we see around. It is interesting how rattan grows because it first starts as a tree but bends to the ground and travels like a vine. It is among the strongest wood and can make furniture like pendant lamps, wing chairs, and even daybeds.

Bamboo is a giant type of grass that is hollow. Unlike the other types of grass, it can grow up to thirty meters high and can be very wide. It is so strong that when compared to mahogany, bamboo timber is harder. It has many applications, including flooring, walls, even houses, not forgetting furniture. The main difference between bamboo and rattan is that while bamboo is hollow, rattan has a solid core. Additionally, rattan never grows as tall or as thick as bamboo and can be bent or curved to make furniture.

Cane is part of the rattan plant. It is the bark of a rattan vine. It is strong and is mostly used for binding and as a finishing material. Therefore, it is used in combination with other materials. Cane is less porous and is often left in its natural state, unlike rattan painted and also treated. Cane is also considered stronger than rattan.

All these three are materials that you can use to make furniture; however, wicker is the weaving process. This process uses natural and synthetic materials, and among the natural materials are rattan, cane, and bamboo. In a nutshell, the difference between rattan, bamboo, cane, and wicker is that wicker is a weaving process while the rest are materials. Cane is part of rattan, just stronger and used alongside other materials; rattan is one of the hardest vines in the world that can make beautiful rattan furniture. Lastly, bamboo is a giant, hollow grass that grows very tall and thick and can neither be bent nor curved. However, they all make strong and durable furniture that is environmentally friendly.