If you prefer to begin with THE STORY OF FURNITURE, click on:
Artisan craftspeople use special carving tools to freely cut away (displace) wood to create a three-dimensional design in the surface of wood.
Chisel marks are called wood carvers ‘beauty marks’.
Exacting duplicate shapes can be machine carved.
Embossing is easily identified because it lacks tool marks.
Steel cutting dies are pressed deeply into wood to create a raised three dimensional design (known as ‘relief’ ). Wood fibers are compacted —not cut away or displaced.
Skilled craftsmen guide engraving tools to create designs by displacing wood.
Veneer shapes fill spaces cut-out of surfaces of a different veneer to create designs of contrasting wood grains and color.
Designs are also inlaid with varieties of wood veneer, brass and ivory.
Distressing is a carefully planned art of destruction.
For customers who prefer ‘new’ furniture that looks 200 years old, distressing techniques simulate pin holes, dents, scratches and worm holes!
BENDING BY HEAT :
Bamboo (a very moist wood) is bent into a shape using heat and pressure .
Finishing all wood furniture includes:
sanding, bleaching, sealing, staining, lacquering and polishing.
Artisan cabinetmakers perform each of these steps by hand. As the moisture of bleaches and stains raises the grain in wood—sanding and rubbing processes must be repeated many times to create finishes ranging from matte to high gloss until every finish meets their standard of excellence.
Mass-produced furniture is usually finished using assembly-line work-saving technologies. These may include sprays that bleach, seal and stain and are not sanded after each procedure.
Side by side, finishing differences are apparent—although both may be good.
Stains are used to enhance the natural beauty of wood grain.
If a stain is dark, it must be translucent and blended into the grain
— as opposed to ‘sitting’ on the surface of the wood.
Opaque stains are often used to masque inferior grades of wood.
The beauty of wood grain, even dark woods like ebony and rosewood (jacaranda), should be visible through stain.
Labels reading ‘mahogany finish’ or ‘cherry finish’ describe only the color of the stain; they do not identify the species of wood used to make the furniture.
Pat Breen: EYEWITNESS TO QUALITY
My next post: ARTISAN WOOD FURNITURE: Kittinger Furniture Company