Rattan Door Panels

Advice on fastening rattan into cabinet doors. December 11, 2012

I made some doors with rattan center panels. I used Freeborn shaper cutters for glass panel doors that accept a plastic retainer to hold the panel in place. I can't seem to get the rattan very tight and can't seem to stretch it evenly. It also seems to change from loose to tight depending on the weather. Does anyone know how to apply rattan for a door?

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor M:
I live in the Philippines (where rattan comes from).We wrap the woven rattan around a frame and use staples to secure it. It is pulled very tight. I do not think the standard groove and rubber or plastic gasket will handle the tension.

From contributor D:
Depending on exactly what material you are using, it sounds like a cane or woven cloth many get soaked in water to allow them to expand and then get installed taut. When dry they tighten up more. The frame sounds best but it needs to be strong enough so that it might be bulky. Figure out a way to make the inner frame part of the design. If you put a groove in the frames you could install the rattan from the face and use the spline molding they sell just like in a seat frame.

From contributor M:
The rattan sold in the states is already dried and processed. Unless you are actually weaving it yourself wetting it will not help, except it will be a little easier to wrap around the frame tightly. If it is cane or a lighter natural fiber it will be a lot easier. We only use rattan for structural elements like seats and beds. Try to avoid the thicker versions for decorative uses like panel inserts.

From contributor B:
We did something like this about a year and a half ago. We used 1/4 MDF and essentially veneered the rattan to both sides of the panel (vacuum press and cold press veneer). The rattan we used was a tight weave so glue visibility wasn't a problem (assuming you didn't use too much glue). The doors were "cut for glass" so we just inserted the panel and secured with a retainer. It worked well and has been over a year and a half since install.