WHAT IS CANE AND WHERE IS IT FROM?
Cane is the generic term for the hard outer bark of the Rattan palm (see picture at left), which is a spiny climbing palm of the genus Calamus. There are over two hundred known species of rattan palms, ranging over a wide area of tropic and sub-tropic areas; Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines being the chief exporters. After harvesting, the palm is cut into poles and dried (see picture above right).
This outer bark or cane peel is cut into thin strips in different widths and sold in coils (see picture below left) for the hand caning process. The cane comes in varying widths that have confusing names like carriage, common, fine fine, etc. Cane, sometimes called machine cane is also pre-woven and sold in sheets or varying patterns and sizes as in the picture below on right.
The most common weave is a seven-step pattern that creates octagon shapes across the seat. Seats that have been hand woven have holes around the perimeter and if you look under the seat you can see how the cane is looped and tied on.
If the seat has a groove around the edge instead of holes the seat is made of pre-woven “machine-made” cane webbing (see picture below on left). The rattan spline is pressed and glued into the groove to hold the cane in place. It’s a subtle difference but I think the hand woven seat is a better look.