Natural wicker is made from rattan, which is a type of palm tree that is harvested to make wicker reeds. When the strands are interwoven, the rattan creates a strong structure able to withstand heavy weight. The durability combined with its light weight makes rattan a common material used for weaving chairs, baskets and trunks. Over time, the strands can become brittle and break off. Rattan is repaired by interweaving new strands into the missing sections.
Remove any broken strands of reed by cutting them off with a pair of scissors. Trim off any frayed ends as well. Use needle-nose pliers to help pull broken strands out of the chair.
Tuck in any loose ends into the adjoining existing weaves and glue down the ends with super glue. Let the glue dry.
Brush on linseed oil to any cracked strands to replenish the wood.
For holes, cut lengths of rattan reeds 2 to 3 inches longer than the damaged area with scissors.
Soak the new rattan reeds in a bowl of water for 30 to 45 minutes to make them pliable.
Weave the new strands of reed into the hole or damaged sections by following the same pattern as the existing weave. Pull the strands through the weaves with a pair of needle-nose pliers. Fix the ends down by applying super glue to the ends. Let it dry.
Paint over the repaired area with spray paint matching the rest of the chair, if painted. Let it dry.