Custom toy chest part III--final detailing

Hand carved toy chest featuring swallow pull and japanning technique from Martin Pierce If you have read, and hopefully enjoyed, our previous posts then you are now aware of the process used to create this incredible toy chest but you may be asking yourself how it gets that glow?  Here is a synopsis of the final detailing process we used.

  • Before the entire piece is finished, details need to be applied to the raised carved animals. Some animals were lucky enough to receive a coating of gilt including the owl, deer, rabbit and geese who were decked out in white gold.  This is a multi-step process that begins with the application of a modern jesso called casein (made from milk solids) in successive layers to fill in the open grain of the wood.  Next Martin applied a gold size called Wondersize over the smooth casein and very carefully laid the paper thin white gold on top.  Once dry the excess gold was brushed off and the gold received a coat of lacquer to seal it into place.  It was now time for all the animals to receive a paint job to bring out the individual details of wings, feet, fur etc.  This was accomplished through the use of a glaze made of pigment, oil and alcohol.
  • It is now time for the entire chest to be finished with a penetrating oil that brought out both the rich grain and red amber color of the wood. We then lacquered the piece with a commercial lacquer for shine and protection.  Unlike woods like walnut and oak that lighten with ultra violet exposure, this cherry chest will turn a rich mahogany color as it is exposed to the oxidation of ultra violet light over time.
  • Final details like those whimsical and "Disneyesque" mushroom feet and the swallow pull add the final magical touches.  The pull was cast in blue jeweler's wax that allows Martin to create details like the wing and tail feathers.  You can learn more about this casting process by reading this post.
  • custom toy chest from Martin Pierce Hardware featuring whimsical mushroom feet

    swallow pull from Martin Piece hardware used on top of toy chest


The end result of all of this is a toy chest that is an heirloom in waiting and while our client is not royalty, is certainly fit for a royal baby, wouldn't you agree?

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