(rattan) is a climbing palm that is mostly found in the southern
parts of Asia. In countries like Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia
it is easily the second most important forest produce, after
hardwood. Cane can climb for more than 200 meters into the
dense treetops of the jungle, holding on to the foliage with
To harvest the cane, the stem is cut through at the base and the plant is dragged
down from the trees and cut into lengths. The thorns are removed and the cane
is primed with disinfectant. Next the cane is dried and sorted into different
sizes and qualities. Finally it is bundled for transportation.
At the furniture factory the cane is either used as a whole to act as the main
structure of (for example) a chair, or split into strips to be used for the
intricate weaving for backs and seats. The final product is then varnished
and packed for shipment.
In England, the use of cane for furniture can be dated back to the 17th century,
but in the 19th century it came to full bloom. The main qualities of cane are
elasticity, lightness, durability and toughness and therefore cane is used
in a lot of ways. Think of baskets, hats, kitchen utensils, chairs seats, and,
of course, whole pieces of furniture. Even bridges have been known to be made
entirely out of cane.