Centuries ago, woodworkers discovered that the grain and color of certain woods could be altered and enhanced by the application of home-brewed agents bringing out a hidden beauty and depth. For example, an agent containing potassium dichromate has a miraculous effect on mahogany, turning it a beautiful reddish brown. French finishers have routinely brewed up a pot of chicory to enhance the color of their walnut.
These practices fell out of fashion with the industrialization of furniture making, in large part because factories could not select matching boards for a piece. They needed heavier stains and pigments to homogenize and pull a hodge-podge of disparate boards together.
Many of our most common hardwoods -- cherry, mahogany, walnut, and maple -- can be enormously enhanced by the old "alchemic" colorization techniques which are the basis of our approach.
For a protective coating, we favor modern varnishes for their great durability and resistance but will French polish (a shellac finish) where appropriate. For our formal, high gloss pieces we strive to emulate the beauty of this traditional method -- just the right level of gloss and, at the same time, absolute clarity -- but using modern, water and alcohol proof finishes.