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Wicker is a general term for woven furniture and accents, not a specific material. The term is used broadly for any item woven from synthetic to natural hard fibers such as rattan, bamboo, seagrass and more.
RATTAN. The primary material used to create wicker is rattan “vine,” which is actually a name for more than 600 prolicic climbing plants. Some species can grow more than 300 feet in length—making rattan an abundant, sustainable resource. The production of wicker furniture often utilizes material from the entire plant: Peel, core, pole and all.
CANE. When rattan’s outer skin or peel is removed and cut into thin strips, the resulting material is called cane. Rattan cane is used for weaving chair seats or wrapping joints on wicker furniture and is produced in many different gauges, ranging from carriage fine to the largest slab rattan. It has a natural glossy finish and does not accept stain or paint well, but is considered most beautiful in its natural state.
KUBU. Rattan cane packed in wet clay and allowed to season is known as Kubu or Kubu gray, due to its soft ashen color. Kubu rattan is exceptionally strong and is prized by furniture-lovers for its distinctive dusky shade.
REED. Reed is the thin, flexible material inside the rattan core. Most often used for basket weaving, it may also function as an ornamental element in wicker furniture. Unlike cane, it has no natural finish and readily accepts paint or stain.
BAMBOO. Bamboo resembles rattan and is often mistaken for it. But unlike rattan, which is solid, bamboo has a hollow core. Bamboo also has distinguishing ridges where the leaves were attached, while rattan’s leaf nodes are not as pronounced.
BANANA LEAF. Banana leaf furniture is made from natural banana fibers that are dried, twisted and braided into a rope. The rope is then woven over a frame to create furniture and basketry that is handsome and highly durable.