occurs primarily in Sugar Maple and is a very hard wood with divergent grain structure caused by the presence of the Birdseyes.
In the days when all furniture was made essentially by hand, Birdseye Maple was used by only the most capable cabinetmakers. These artisans had developed the tools and skills to work and finish Birdseye Maple successfully. Antique furniture made out of Birdseye Maple is rare and beautiful.
The divergent grain that makes Birdseye Maple beautiful also makes it difficult to work. Early woodworking machines ran at low rpms and had only 2 knives per cutterhead. This often produced Birdseye surfaces that were chipped and torn. It took many hours of hand planing and scraping to get these surfaces to a high sheen.
This limited the use of Birdseye maple to projects whose value could justify the extra labour cost. Examples of this are fine furniture and musical instruments.
is an early-19th-century design movement in architecture, furniture, other decorative arts, and the visual arts followed in Europe and America until around 1830.
The style originated in and takes its name from the rule of Napoleon I in the First French Empire, where it was intended to idealize Napoleon's leadership and the French state. The style corresponds to the Biedermeier style in the German-speaking lands, Federal style in the United States and to the Regency style in Britain. The previous style was called Louis XVI style, in France.
The Empire style was based on aspects of the Roman Empire. It is the second phase of neoclassicism which is also called "Directoire", after a goverment system.
Furniture typically had symbols and ornaments borrowed from the glorious ancient Greek and Roman empires.
The furniture was made from heavy woods such as mahogany and ebony, imported from the colonies, with dark finishes often with decorative bronze mounts. Marble tops were popular as were Egyptian motifs like sphinxes, griffins, urns and eagles and the Napoleonic symbols, the eagle, the bee, the initials "I" and a large "N."
Gilded bronze (ormolu) details displayed a high level of craftsmanship.
(from French 'or moulu', signifying ground or pounded gold) is an 18th-century English term for applying finely ground, high-carat gold in a mercury amalgam to an object of bronze.The mercury is driven off in a kiln leaving behind a gold-coloured veneer known as 'gilt bronze'.
The manufacture of true ormolu employs a process known as mercury-gilding or fire-gilding, in which a solution of nitrate of mercury is applied to a piece of copper, brass, or bronze, followed by the application of an amalgam of gold and mercury. The item was then exposed to extreme heat until the mercury burned off and the gold remained, adhered to the metal object.
No true ormolu was produced in France after around 1830 because legislation had outlawed the use of mercury. Therefore, other techniques were used instead but nothing surpasses the original mercury-firing ormolu method for sheer beauty and richness of colour. Electroplating is the most common modern technique. Ormolu techniques are essentially the same as those used on silver, to produce silver-gilt (also known as vermeil).