Repair Rattan and Wicker Furniture and Accessories
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First Things FirstStudy the damage to your wicker furniture and determine just what repairs need to be made. Does the frame need repairing or is the wicker weave broken or missing big chunks. It's best to take lots of pictures before you start any repairs of your wicker furniture so you have a record of weave patterns and the actual repairs to be made.
BOILED linseed oil or tung oil
There are two types of Linsee Oil, boiled and raw. The boiled linseed oil will
harden nicely, but the raw linseed oil will take until the second tuesday of
next week, then never really be properly cured.
Wood stain Only the finest oils, resins and pigments are used to produce stains so rich in color and so easy to use.
The best thing for cracking wicker is tung oil or boiled linseed oil.
They'll replenish the oil in the reed, then cure and harden to a nice finish,
or pre-finish, if you want to put another finish over it. Not polyurethane, it
will crack even worse than dry wicker. Even if the wicker is painted or has a
clear finish the tung oil or boiled linseed oil will enter the reed through the cracks and
if it is dry enough to crack, then the finish is probably missing or thin
Apply the tung oil boiled linseed oil with a brush and make sure that you get in all
the nooks and crannies. Let the oil sit on the surface until
all is absorbed that will soak in. As an area gets dull looking, add more
oil, since the dullness is an indication that it's really being
sucked up into the dry reed. Add until no more will be absorbed, then remove
the excess. Use cloth or paper towels to remove the excess, then use a dry
brush to remove it from the cracks and crevices. Let the tung oil or boiled linseed oil
dry for at least 24 hours, then apply a new coat of paint or clear finish as
Is the problem a kind of misguided weave? If weave is skiddley wampus or
overlapping other weave it would indicate that it probably got pretty wet, then
was sat on or something was set on it or something else that would cause its
weave to go away from its normal position. This condition is usually very easy
to remedy if the rattan is bare. If it's painted or has a clear finish on it
you will probably have to strip the area to get down to bare reed.
Pictures and Diagrams
Always take pictures and draw diagrams of the weave pattern where you will be
making repairs, because sometimes it will be necessary to remove more of the
remaining weave. Drawing diagrams of the pattern helps to understand the weave
pattern better too.
If you have a tendency toward heaving a sigh and saying "I can't do that", always remember that someone else has done it, so it can be done and you can do it too. Study closely and muster up a heap of patience. If you start to feel impatient then stop for a cup of coffee or a jog around the block. I turn around and look at the treadmill and imagine myself walking on it. Heh, heh.
Soak the Reed
The rattan reed comes in very long strands and are sold in coils. The strands
are moist when they are coiled to make them easier to handle and store. When
dry, the coiled reeds are very brittle and will need to be soaked to make them
supple and easy to work with.
Repairing a Hole
If you have a hole that involves one or more strands in a simple weave, for instance from the front to the back of a seat, then you should remove the full strand which is broken, but remove and replace only one strand at a time.
Illustration 1 (the art may not be fancy, but it sure didn't cost much) represents a side view of a chair or similar piece. The up and down curved piece is the back. The shadowed piece is the broken piece to be replaced. The strand may be just
a single piece that terminates inside the back and under the seat, but is more
than likely a longer strand that will be doubled back to make the next row and
possibly one or two more. It may be the dickens to get inside the back or the
under seat weave to cut the strand. so it's generally easiest to cut the strand
before it enters the back or underneath and push it through. Be sure to soak
the pieces to be removed with wet towels or rags, so they're supple and will do
what you want them to without damaging any surrounding weave. Illustration 2
shows a flat view of Illustration 1.
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