Making cane furniture is basically a craft that originated from South East Asia. In essence, canning is a form of weaving and basketry that has been used in Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines for many centuries now.
How is cane furniture made?
The main materials that is used for a cane furniture piece is from the bark of the rattan palm. Most cane furniture pieces only makes use of the rattan core. The rattan core is the second layer of the bark that is smooth and durable. However, other cane furniture pieces also make use of the rattan peel or the outer thorny layer that is stripped from the rattan bark. The rattan peel is used to give a more natural and rustic aura to the furniture piece.
Aide from the rattan materials which will comprise the strands fro the actual weaving process, cane furniture may also make use of other materials such as reed, paper fiber rush and Ash wood splints.
Basically, most cane furniture pieces are hand-woven. This means that the rattan strands are threaded through individual holes in the frame. Skilled craftsmen weave strand by strand to form the backs of chairs, table tops, and other surfaces of the furniture. Such type of cane manufacturing is common among antiques.
On the other hand, new cane furniture pieces make use of pre-woven canning. In this new cane furniture, specialized machines are used to weave an entire sheet of cane. These sheets are then held in a groove by glue and a spline, which is usually made out of reed. Such kinds of cane sheets is easily manufactured and replaced.
The art of hand-woven canning
Hand-woven cane furniture pieces are basically works of art. They are products of workers who are blessed with a high degree of traditional basketry skills, weaving from most oriental countries. They are end results of a person’s creativity, patience, perseverance and expertise. Note that because they are artistic products, no two hand-woven cane furniture can have the same appearance regardless of the similarity in the design and no matter if the same artist wove the pieces.
As hand woven pieces are made by craftsmen and not automated machines, many furniture manufacturers and antique collectors point out that they are far more durable than machine-made cane sheets. In fact, most hand-woven pieces can last for a century. Unlike machine-woven cane sheets which can easily be restored by any furniture restorer, hand woven cane furniture pieces are considered to be far more valuable since only skilled and highly experienced weavers can restore and repair such items.