It's cane and it's durable

Home decor

It's cane and it's durable

It has become fashionable to use cane furniture at homes, offices and restaurants alike.

In India, we are predisposed to buy only teak and rosewood furniture. Cane furniture is not considered an investment, something more sedate and durable is what we look for when setting up home.

However, over the decades, this mental block seems to have been overcome and exquisite cane finished products, either made in India or imported from South East Asia have become fashionable furniture in homes across the country.    

Cane furniture, commonly referred to as wicker is a favourite for outdoor seating areas, or for interior rooms that want to bring an element of nature indoors. While hardwoods such as teak or oak may seem to overpower a natural area, cane furniture made from bamboo or rattan will offer an extremely earthy look that increases the beauty of the room rather than compete with it.

Light, airy look

The woven pattern provides a light, airy look that will not weigh down a room’s seating area. The attribute of cane furniture is that it combines simplicity and comfort, with high aesthetic appeal. Originally, because the woven pattern of wicker will also allow it to blend into its surroundings, it was a favourite for out door or patio and balcony seating.

Mix of traditional, modern

Where solid counterparts may take up entire spaces and block out the view of everything behind it, wicker will allow glimpses of the scenes around it. Because of this, it allows the area to flow freely, without interruption, and enhances the serene quality of the outdoors. Contemporary wicker, however, can offer just the right blend of traditional and modern while still allowing the natural surroundings to take centrestage. Today however, bamboo is used in almost every type of furniture, like chairs, tables, sofas, stools, shoe racks, bookshelves, cabinets, beds, couches, recliners, etc. And what makes cane furniture attractive is that it is available in different price ranges, suiting almost every budget. As an industry, cane furniture is found in and around the North East of India where bamboo grows in profusion. The flexibility, strength, abundance, firmness and quick maturity of bamboo have made it a very popular choice for making furniture.

From offices to homes to restaurants to shops, it is being used everywhere. Suddenly cane has become fashionable and people feel it adds a very modern and trendy look to the entire décor. Its durability, low weight, easy maintenance and environmental-friendliness further add to its charm. 

In India after bamboo is harvested, the first step in the process to make furniture from the cane is to heat it to make it pliable. Then, it is twisted manually into various shapes, thus making the frame of the piece of furniture. Then the frames are attached together, using glue or screws, to create the total outline of the piece.

The joints are then wrapped with binding rexine or thick twine to hold them together.
Then traditionally a mesh of split cane is inserted into certain  parts of the framework, principally on the backs and seats of chairs. One still gets traditional cane weavers who will come home to refurbish the seat of the chair that has split with time and wear. 

Sadly many weavers have shifted to using plastic instead of cane, as that is long lasting. As kids we would often sit out in the back yard to watch the cane weavers repair grandpa’s favourite reclining chair or even recane the backs of the sofa’s  settee which was of woven cane. All they had was a little bag of split canes and the sharp instrument they used along with basic glue. It was more a skill that they practised which seems lost today. Then the furniture is dyed to whatever colour is required. Finally, a coat of lacquer is applied to it to give it an appealing shine. Cane is also treated against attack by termites and wood boring insects. 

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