A fine piece of furniture should be visually appealing as well as functional and structurally sound. Several factors contribute to the visual appeal of a piece of wood furniture including the type of wood, the finish and decorative accents. Inlays of floral and plant motifs, as well as borders of bandings and cross bandings can add color and texture as well as ornamentation to tables and panels on casework.
Inlays are actually marquetry that is "laid into" the surface of a piece of wood furniture. Geometric designs or motifs are designed using contrasting shades of wood, usually veneers, and enchanced with brass and other metals, and mother of pearl. Veneers are an excellent medium because they are easy to work with and offer an unliminted variety of color and texture. The shapes of the motifs or design are carefully cut and glued together. Once the design is completed it is embedded in the furniture. This is done by first cutting around the outside of the motif with a knife. Next, a chisel is used to carve out a recess for the inlay and it is glued in place. The inlays are frequently placed in panels with carved or turned borders.
Borders around the edges of cabinets, panels and tables can also be done with bandings and cross bandings. Bandings are thin strips of veneer which provide contrasting colors with that of the surrounding wood. Bandings are cut with the grain, and cross bandings are cut across the grain. Herringbone banding is composed of two narrow strips of veneer whose grain is placed at sharp angles to each other. Narrow channels are chiseled in the surface of the wood and the bandings are inlaid.
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