Marquita Sanford. Furniture. September 25th , 2017.
Of these, resin-based synthetic rattan is of course the most popular, as well as the most widespread across public consciousness; however, unlike what many home-owners might think, not every rattan garden furniture item is made of the same type of synthetic polymer. Much to the contrary, rattan items on the market can be made out of any one of four types of resin: polyethylene, polypropylene, PVC or nylon.
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In fact, rather than harm the environment, rattan can be considered to benefit it, insofar as it is used as a replacement for wood wicker in many furniture items. This, in turn, helps preserve forests, as it reduces the need to source wood from trees, preventing deforestation and logging. Furthermore, this plant is often grown in floodplains, thereby facilitating the appearance of animal populations in said areas and making use of soil which would, otherwise, go unused. Finally, rattan harvesting and sourcing helps provide jobs for inhabitants of the areas of the world the material is commonly found at, thus helping maintain a sustainable economy.
Finding suitable replacement materials for inlay and boulle antiques is an even greater problem. They tend to use more complex and varied materials. Antique and second-hand shops often have boxes containing suitable oddments and it is worth searching through them to find matching pieces. As a last resort, missing pieces of inlay can be built up with synthetic resins or wax, coloured to match. If boulle has lifted seriously or is bent, leave the repair to an expert restorer; but if the lifting is only slight, carefully remove the section and scrape clean all the dirt. Stick with an epoxy resin adhesive and weight it down until the glue has dried.
The same hot iron and gluing method is used in repairing marquetry. Lay a piece of paper over the missing section and rub with a soft pencil to get an outline of the area. Cut the paper to the pattern and stick it to the replacement piece of wood. Cut the wood slightly larger than the pattern and rub down with glass-paper until the exact fit can be obtained. Stick it into place with cold wood glue. On many antique furniture pieces the marquetry tends to lift through age and using the warm iron technique will heat the glue and the raised piece can be gently pressed down back into position. If dust has been trapped under the lifted section, it should be removed, cleaned and re-stuck into position.
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