Rattan has becomes an important raw material of furniture production in the world. Rattan production is the largest source of foreign exchange in Indonesia because most of the world’s rattan needs come from Indonesia. Rattan export activities are very high and it can help the Indonesian economy. Nowadays, 90% of rattan production comes from nature while 10% comes from cultivation. Even rattan is available in the nature, rattan still must be maintained well.
Rattan is a non-timber plant that propagates in other plants. Asia is a producer of rattan in the world. In Southeast Asia there are 516 species of rattan which are then divided into 8 genera, namely, calamus, daemonorops, korthalsia, plectocomia, plectocomiopsis, calopspatha, bejaudia, and ceratolobus. There are two genera that have high economic value, calamus and daemonorops,
Indonesia is home for 306 species of rattan. There are 28 types of high-value rattan that are derived from calamus and daemonorops genera. Other types of rattan are still under development to find their benefits.
Type of rattan that belong to the calamus genera group is calamus manan miquel or known as manau rattan. The special characteristic of rattan is its stem is 2-5 cm in diameter, it has long stem and protected by sharp spines. This type of rattan is commonly used for materials of furniture making such as chairs, tables and beds.
Other types of rattan are sega rattan or calamus caesius also included in the main rattan category of the calamus genera. The special characteristic of this rattan is that it has a stem with a length reaching 50 m. This type of rattan used as raw material for rattan craft or binding the chair joints.
There is also a type of rattan that belongs to the genus daemonorops, namely batang susu rattan with the scientific name is daemonorops robusta warburg. This type of rattan lives in high areas and lives in groups. This type of batang susu rattan’s stem has a diameter about 2-8 cm and sharp spines. Batang susu rattan is often used as a raw material for furniture.
Besides batang susu rattan, the other rattan of daemonorops genera is a jernang besar rattan which has the scientific name daemonorops darco. This type of rattan grows in a group and has stems that extend to 15 m. Jernang besar rattan is often used for rigging or plaiting. The rattan of the daemonorops genera still loses in terms of quality with the rattan of the calamus genera.
Rattan furniture become common thing to most people. Rattan furniture has been widely used in residences and public places. Many people may only know the form of a rattan furniture without knowing the manufacturing process.
You need to know that a raw rattan has many processes before it can be formed into a furniture. This series of processes is done so that the rattan has good quality and can stay for a long time. After going through a long and difficult process, rattan can be formed into beautiful furniture as you use.
The first process is a frying process, which is frying newly harvested rattan. This is done to remove the water contained in rattan. If the rattan contains a lot of water it will cause pests that will affect the quality of the rattan. The process of rattan frying does not use ordinary cooking oil but uses diesel and coconut oil.
After frying process, the second process is rubbing process. The aim of this process to remove the remaining dirt on the rattan. The process is after the rattan is drained, the rattan will be rubbed using coconut fiber or a rag. After rubbing the rattan, it will look clean and bright.
The third process is drying. The process is the final process in removing water content in rattan. This can be done by drying the rattan in the sun. The water content must reach its lowest point of around 15% -19%.
After the rattan is dried, the rattan will go through the fourth process, namely stripping. Dry rattan has skin fibers and must be removed by passing the stripping process. This is also done so that the rattan has a similar size.
The fifth process is smoking. This process will take 12 hours. This process is carried out if the dried rattan still has natural fibers. The fumigation process uses sulfur gas in order to make the rattan shiny.
The next process is preservation of rattan using chemicals. The use of chemicals is used to protect rattan from natural destructive organisms. Destructive organisms will make rattan faster damaged and not durable.
The last process is bending or bending. This can be done according to the needs of the production process. The techinuque is to put the rattan into hot steam and then bend it with a curved device.
The process above is a basic process of rattan before it can be formed into a furniture. After passing through the basic process, the rattan will be formed according to the design that has been determined. To make beautiful rattan furniture requires a long and not easy effort.
Indonesia is the largest rattan producing country in the world. Mostly rattan come from the Kalimantan, Papua, and Sumatra. Indonesian rattan quality has the best quality. This is proven that many foreign buyers who are interested in Indonesian rattan products
In Indonesia, Cirebon is the largest rattan production site. In Cirebon, Tegalwangi area is an area that have many rattan businesses. Start from small class businesses to the upper middle class located in the Tegalwangi. Customers come from various regions not only local customer, customers also come from another countries.
The Products produced from rattan are mostly in the form of furniture such as chairs, tables and cabinets. The designs offered are also varied by following the latest trends. Rattan product is not only furniture, other products that can be made from rattan are ornaments such as baskets, mirrors, or flower vases.
Many advantages possessed by products made from rattan. Products from rattan can stand for a long time. Rattan products are not easily broke because rattan is a strong type of wood. Rattan can also be easily formed so that it can be made with various designs. Although rattan has a wood-like texture, rattan products have a lightweight. This will make it easier for customer to move rattan products.
Beside the advantages of each product, each product also has their weakness including rattan. Rattan is a material that comes from nature, of course, there are some natural problems, namely extinction. It can be happen if the rattan keep exploited by human being without maintenance from the manufacturer. Apart from natural resources, others weakness are human resources. There are not many people can makes product from rattan. The production process also takes a long time.
The rattan industry is expected to be one of profitable industry in Indonesia. Considering the rattan industry plays a major role in Indonesia’s export activities. The government also carry out promotional activities on rattan production such as an exhibition of Indonesian rattan craft.