Bassine/Palmyra (Borassus flabellifera)
This material is derived from the stalks of the Palmyra palm in Southern India mainly in Kerala State. The best material comes from an area around Tuticorin, and is available in various grades of stiffness. Bassine is inexpensive and durable, and its sweeping qualities are fair, but it is not resilient and may distort in use especially when wet. As with most of the other vegetable fibres it has good resistance to heat and most chemicals.
Bassine is shipped in bundles ready to use in a brush-making machine, which makes it very attractive to the brush manufacturer.
It is used in cheaper warehouse brooms, in mixtures for scrubbing brushes, and in cheaper household brushes and brooms.
Cane - Natural & Dyed.
This material is from the mid rib of the Palmyra Palm leaf. It is not used on its own for brush production, but is always mixed with other materials. It is used to enhance the stiffness of Sherbro Piassava, and the natural cane makes the mixtures more attractive due to its creamy colour, which is a good contrast to the brown of Sherbro. Dyed Cane is also available, which is also used in mixtures.
Cane and Palmyra Mixtures
Cane & Palmyra Mix.
Much of the Cane is mixed in India with Palmyra in different percentages, and is used in large quantities by brush makers to produce low cost yard brooms. The fibre sweeps rather poorly, wears quickly and is very unsatisfactory in wet conditions. It is sometimes referred to as “Grape” or “Apple” mixture, and these terms donate the mixture proportions. Unfortunately brushes made with this mixture are sometimes incorrectly described as Bass brooms, and this is a very misleading term, because a Bass broom has always been a broom which is manufactured with either Sherbro or Bahia Bass, which are both good quality fibres.
As the fibres are harvested and degrade naturally, it is very environmentally friendly.
Drying palmyra fibre under the sun before processing.
Bassine store at HBC.