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How can you find vintage rattan furniture?

A:

Quick Answer

Vintage rattan furniture is available from online auction sites such as eBay and classified ad sites such as Craigslist. Antique furniture dealers and thrift stores may stock vintage rattan in various states of repair, and furniture restorers who specialize in rattan may also sell refinished pieces. Yard sales and weekend flea markets may be the source of a vintage rattan finds for educated buyers.

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Full Answer

Familiarize yourself with rattan styles and characteristics before committing to a purchase. Designers such as Paul Frankl, who created the popular pretzel chair with its distinctive arms, are sought after. Sellers typically charge a premium for collectible pieces.

Unlike bamboo, rattan can be steamed, bent and shaped easily and dries to a hard, sturdy frame. Vintage pieces are likely to feature curved designs, which is one way to distinguish them from bamboo. Rattan is primarily sourced from the Philippines and other parts of Southeast Asia.

Check furniture advertised as "vintage wicker" to find early- to mid-20th-century rattan. Wicker is a weaving style, not a fiber. A wicker porch or garden set may have a frame made from strong rattan poles with seats, sides, shelves and tabletops woven from the more pliable inner pith of the plant.

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