Life Here

March 17, 2022 By Bob Lunning

A Chair Lift with a Twist

A call to the Termite project line brought an unusual request. The resident wanted two, four-strand rattan chairs and a three-section rattan couch lifted by about three inches. Not a problem, said the project coordinator. He explained how a platform would be built and bun feet would be used to lift the furniture to the desired three inches. The platform would then be screwed into the bottom of the rattan pieces to ensure stability and prevent shifting while using the seats. The resident was aghast! They did not want anything screwed into the four-strand rattan. They wanted it attached some other way. This definitely presented a unique challenge, so the project coordinator turned the problem over to the Termite Design Bureau.

There is a common misconception that bamboo and rattan furniture are the same thing. Rattan and bamboo are drastically different materials. This quick guide should help you understand the ways they vary:

  • Bamboo does not bend. It is harder than mahogany and cannot be curved.
  • Rattan is solid while bamboo is hollow.
  • Rattan is strong and flexible so it can be shaped into intricately designed furniture. An easy way to check if your furniture is rattan or bamboo is to see if any of the canes are curved or bent. If so, your furniture is likely rattan.
  • Bamboo grows straight as a tree, is a grass plant and is one of the world’s fastest growing plants. Some bamboo will grow 1.5 inches per hour.
  • Rattan grows as a vine, belongs to the palm family and is fast growing, but does not hold a candle to bamboo’s growth rate.

Several ideas were put forth. What would the resident say if the furniture was glued to the elevated platform? Someone mentioned that it would defeat the desire not to damage or mar the pieces. Would a chair, zip-tied to the platform, stay in place or would it slide around? A solution was found that seemed to offer a reasonable approach. Two-inch by two-inch wood blocks placed in strategic locations that would prevent the chairs from moving forward, backward or sideways.

A half-inch plywood platform was custom cut for each piece of furniture and then sanded so there were no splinters or sharp edges. Six-inch pieces of two-inch by two-inch were screwed onto the plywood to prevent furniture movement. The three-inch oval bun feet were then screwed into the bottom of the plywood and the entire platform was spray painted brown. Each chair and the couch fit snugly onto the platform, with the chair legs nestled tight against the blocks of wood. It was definitely a chair lift with a twist.


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