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A Finish With Cosmetic Roots

Ya’ll Restoration Hardware’s Casegoods are giving me all the feels.  Recently their Stacked Collection designed by the Van Thiels caught my attention.  The Van Thiels are a Dutch family who’s been designing furniture for over 40 years.  

The Stacked Collection features the table below with modern horizontal bands on the base.   The old technique of Cerused on Oak wood paired with a new design are a match made in heaven.

Cerused is a finishing technique used to bring out the beautiful graining of the wood. It gives the best results on porous woods like Oak and Mahogany.   you’re more likely to see the woods treated with a light, Grey, or Black finish.

The cerused technique has cosmetic roots that go back to the 16th and 17th century.  Elizabeth I of England was famous for her snow white complexion.  She achieved it by wearing a face cream that contained the white lead pigment cerused.  Unfortunately after it was proven to be toxic, the cream was banned and fell out of favor as a cosmetic product.  But, the French quickly realized its benefits in creating gorgeous finishes with wood.  So, the toxic pigment was removed and replaced with the safer alternative, liming wax.   Today, this technique’s influence can be found on products like cabinets, headboards, tables and sideboards.