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Picking The Right Wicker Baskets for Your Business

Wicker Baskets have a long history of commercial use. Baskets made of swamp grasses and reeds were found buried with the pharaohs of Egypt. Remnants of wicker baskets were found buried under the ashes of Pompeii. The Romans spread the use of wicker baskets throughout Europe. Independent of them, many Native American tribes, such as the Pomo of Northern California, developed wicker basket designs of their own. It is no surprise that wicker baskets were so wide-spread. The term 'wicker' means something made of woven fibers, and the woven fibers make very light yet sturdy objects. This makes such baskets handy for any business.

The long use led to people developing many types of wicker baskets, and the sheer variety of materials used can confuse a person. The most common materials used are plastic, willow, rattan, and bamboo. Each material brings its own benefits to your business.

 One of the most common materials is plastic threads. This synthetic type of fiber was introduced to the wicker market by Marshal B. Lloyd in the early 1900's because people wanted something simpler-looking. These fibers can come in any color. They make a durable basket that is easy to clean. They are good to use in the food industry, where sanitation is paramount.

For natural fibers, one of the most common materials is rattan. This is a type of palm from Southeast Asia that was originally used as ballast in ships. In 1850, a man named Cyrus Wakefield started off-loading the ballast from ships and use them in making furniture. Rattan is fairly weather-resistant and strong, which is why they are frequently used as frames on items. Rattan makes great gift baskets with their classic looks and resilience.

Willow wicker baskets have the longest pedigree. In fact, the English used to call anything made of willows 'wickerwork.' The willow tree comes in many species, but the one generally used in wicker work is salix viminalis. Basket-makers split the stems and rods of this tree for their work. Willow is flexible and versatile. In fact, artists use willow to make three-dimensional sculptures. Once the fibers are woven into place, they are very durable. You can clean your willow basket with a brush, and that makes it suitable for bakeries and gem shops where fine particles can get all over the basket.

Bamboo is another material that is frequently used in wicker baskets. Bamboo is a type of flowering perennial evergreen in the grass family, but it is used as wood because it is strong. It has tensile strength similar to steel and a compressive strength similar to brick. People in China and India use them in suspension bridges. Bamboo wicker baskets are a mix of strong and flexible. They also resist water damage, so you can use them in humid conditions. In fact, bamboo is made into steamers for Asian cooking.

In addition to types of materials used in the wicker baskets, there are differences in techniques used to weave the fibers together. One of the major types of construction methods is 'twining.' This is where two fibers are woven around vertical stakes, crossing each other in between the stakes. This can make a sturdy basket that works well for holding bigger items. The 'stake and strand' method is very similar to 'twining,' except there is only one horizontal strand running in front and in back of the vertical stakes. This is a very fine weave that works really well for gift baskets and general containers. There are many other popular styles of wicker weaving, but 'twining' and 'stake and strand' are some of the most common.

With such a variety in wicker baskets, you are sure to find one that fits the needs of your business. We at Almac Imports have over 50 years of experience with wicker baskets and can help you pick the right one. Feel free to contact us for all your wicker needs.