When you look at a beautiful piece of natural rattan furniture, most people do not realize how many steps it has even taken for the rattan material to reach the supplier.
Processing the rattan materials can also be labor intensive. Two main methods are used to process the rattan materials: traditional and modern. The more modern method cures the rattan; most rattan processed today uses this method.
Two Methods To Process Rattan Materials
As rattan is a natural material, it should ideally be processed as soon as the rattan has been harvested. When the rattan is processed, the raw material is then prepared so that the rattan can be used for finished products.
Proper processing of the rattan is essential to ensure that your finished product is quality rattan. How well the rattan is sorted and processed during these steps can affect the quality of the finished rattan product.
Today there are two methods for processing rattan: traditional and modern.
Traditional Method To Process Rattan Material Explained
The traditional method to process rattan material is the method used for many years. When processing rattan, you need a tape measure, brush, knives, a file, and an area to dry and sort the rattan.
Steps For The Traditional Rattan Processing
Here are the three steps which are used in the traditional method when processing rattan:
- Take off the skin or outer part of the rattan. The first step is as soon as the rattan arrives, it needs to have the skin or outer part of the rattan taken off.
- Leave the rattan to dry in the sun for three to seven days. This will help to reduce the water content.
- Sort the rattan. The rattan is also sorted for size and use of the rattan. Larger rattan can be used for furniture pieces and small rattan for other items.
The traditional method of processing rattan is probably the method that was used if you have some antique rattan furniture. There is a good chance that this was how they would process the rattan used for the furnishings during that time.
Several things are wrong with this method, especially when the rattan is not cured; it can have bugs or other pests in the rattan. That is why this process is not used as much as the modern method that will cure the natural rattan.
Modern Method To Process Rattan Material Explained
Although it is more expensive than the traditional method, the modern method of processing rattan is considered the better method as it produces higher quality rattan.
Here are the steps to process rattan with the modern method:
Step 1 – Sort the Rattan Into Sizes
Once the rattan is cut, it is sorted into approximate sizes. This is important because only specific sizes of rattan can be used for certain things. Also, the rattan suppliers will sell as per the required size.
Most rattan weavers are by the rattan already presorted in the size they need. That is also why sorting the rattan is essential in the return process.
Step 2 – Cure The Rattan Material
The next step is the rattan that needs to be cured. The rattan is cured to eliminate insect larva, fungus, or other bugs. It also helps increase the durability of the rattan so that the rattan can be stored longer than the traditional method.
Rattan is cured by boiling the rattan in diesel oil. The suppliers will use a long tank so long strips of the rattan can be cured at once.
Curing the rattan will also give a better color to the rattan, especially the large rattan. And it will also show any flaws in the rattan so those pieces can be sorted and eliminated.
The rattan is cured by filling the curing tank with diesel oil and waiting until the oil comes to a boil. They will wrap a chain around the rattan so it is bundled and then drop it in the diesel oil. The oil should not be heated above 100 °C or 212°F.
How long the rattan is boiled will depend on the diameter and species of the actual rattan but usually between 8 to 20 minutes.
Once the rattan has been boiled, they will take it out of the tank and allow the oil to drip off it for about 30 seconds. An essential part of this process is that the workers must be sure that the diesel oil does not spill on the ground or out of the tank.
The workshop area must also be well ventilated and have all the fire and other safety equipment.
Step 3 – Drying The Rattan Material
Now that the rattan has been cured, the next step is the rattan must be dried in the sun for 10 to 14 days. The rattan must be dried upright so that the rattan remains straight.
Step 4 – Sort Of Rattan Material
After adequately drying the rattan, sorting is the next step to see if any rattan shows defects; it needs to be rejected. Those not rejected are then sorted again according to their size and any markings on the skin.
The first quality rattan is sorted to be used for production as furniture production, and lower quality is sorted for other things.
Step 5 – Bending And Splitting The Rattan Materials
Rattan needs to be sorted for rattan materials that can be bent or rattan materials that should be split to be used for weaving, such as caning or other types of weaving.
You can watch our video to know how to bend rattan materials,
Depending on the supplier, the rattan also needs to be cut into sizes so that the sizes can be bundled and sold to the weavers to weave or manufacture into products.
As you can see, processing the rattan can take time and skill. It takes time to cut down the rattan, cure it, and then split and cut it again.
The natural rattan must also be sorted several times. These steps happen before the rattan even gets to the manufacturer producing the rattan furniture or home decor products.
If you are interested in seeing how Mondoro can help you with your rattan furniture and other home decor products – we would love to talk to you about how we can help you.
Find out more about how Mondoro can help you create, develop, and manufacture excellent home decor and furniture products – don’t hesitate to contact me, Anita. Check out my email by clicking here or become a part of our community and join our newsletter by clicking here.
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