The difference between rattan, wicker and cane furniture

difference between wicker, rattan and caneThe other day I was doing some decluttering when I came across an old wicker basket.

I think I used it for storing toys in when Little Miss Green was a toddler.

We ended up talking about it and reminiscing about the ‘good old days’ of going out on treasure hunts to fill the basket with stones, leaves and conkers, but it rapidly turned into a heated discussion between the three of us about what wicker is.

Mr Green was calling the basket cane, I was sure it was wicker and Little Miss green went off to Google to sort it out for us all.

What we discovered was a bit of a shock to me, because according to Furniture Company 247, who sell Rattan Furniture “There is no material on Earth called wicker!”

‘Wicker’ is used to mean almost any type of woven furniture such as cane, seagrass or rattan but doesn’t actually exist per se. I discovered that wicker refers to the act of weaving or is the final woven article made using a variety of materials and is not a material itself.

So after all these years I’ve been carrying around, what I thought, was a wicker basket, I’ve discovered the items we call wicker are, in fact, made of something else and ‘wicker’ is more of a process. Hmmm.

Rattan originates from South East Asia and unlike bamboo, which is a hollow grass; rattan grows like a vine and has a core. It is said to be one of the strongest woods available – ideal for weaving and is incredibly durable. It’s so strong it’s used to make tables, chairs and even sofas.

Once the rattan is harvested it is washed, cured, smoked and dried before being ready for use.

Rattan, when used for furniture, is steamed then bent into shape. As they cool, bent rattan pieces remain fixed in their curved shape and can withstand extreme heat without damage which is why it’s so popular for conservatory furniture.

Well, Little Miss Green might be at school now, and our homeschooling days are over, but I’m still learning something new every day!

What about you; did you know that wicker didn’t exist as a material?