What's the difference between • rattan and wicker furniture?

David rum. .Monterev. CA

A The truth is that rattan and • wicker are actually the same thing and come from a vine called rattan. Wicker is merely processed rattan.

Rattan grows in the jungles of Asia. Southeast Asia, and Africa. Growing from the ground up to the top of the tree, it then hangs from the branches and grows back down.

Tarzan knew all about rattan—it's the vine he used to swing from tree to tree.

To make rattan into furniture, the entire vine is steamed, and in some cases heated with a torch, bent over a form and allowed to cure in the desired shape like bent wood furniture.

Sometimes the husk is peeled off so that the vine can be stained. The husk itself is made into a binding that is wrapped around the joints. It also is woven into small strips to form the seats you often see on rattan and wicker furniture. In fact, Pacific Islanders often weave this type of caning around a hardwood frame to make a cot-like structure to sleep on.

Wicker, on the other hand, is made from rattan by processing the vine through a machine. It emerges as many spaghetti-like strips, which are then woven around a rattan frame to produce furniture.

Despite popular opinion, neither rattan nor wicker has anything to do with bamboo, which is hollow. Rattan is very porous lengthwise but that doesn't affect the strength. It certainly didn't cause Tarzan any problems.

Daniel S. Ward President, Oriental Imports Daphne, AL

Oscillating Spindle Sander

QI'iv worked with an oscillating

• spindle sander and find it to be a most handy tool. Unfortunately, I've never seen one for less than $900. This is urn* too much for someone like me who doesn't make a living from woodworking. Does any one offer a less expensiw oscillating sander orfxys-sibly a kit?

Jack Sexauer Piano. TX

A An oscillating spindle sander

• is basically a drum sander mounted in a table, much the way a router is mounted in a router table. The drum not only rotates, it also bobs up and down as it turns. This makes for a smoother cut that is less likely to burn. Industrial machines have cast-iron tables and internal gearing that drive up the cost of the machine. Fortunately, there is an alternative. Wesley Glewwe, of West St. Paul, MN, has designed a spindle

For Information .wi our

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