CARVINGS: Many manufactures use only machine or spindle carvings while others touch up machine carving to add a bit of hand work. At Karges, we let the machine remove enough wood to faintly outline the carving shape. Then our hand carvers completely recarve all surfaces to attain a fully hand-carved piece. Look for crisp edges, undercuts, chisel marks, "imperfect" vein lines and signature. Most Karges pieces are signed by the carver. Look for initials stamped into the inside top of a leg, inside the left door frame or in some other unobtrusive place.
DRAWER CONSTRUCTION: The Karges line is very diverse with virtually no standardized drawer sizes. We make each drawer to fit a specific case. Construction is of solid red oak with dovetail joints in front and back. Inside surfaces are finely sanded, filled, and lacquer/wax sealed. As Mr. Karges, Sr. said, "We have to make the edges smooth so as not to tear the ladies' nylons." Look for dovetails at front and back, undersides free of knots, and wooden glides. Smell the wax/lacquer coating. Feel the smooth inside edges.
DOOR CONSTRUCTION: Where design dictates, doors are constructed not of the well-known, double-dowel jointery but of a much stronger, more complicated method called double splining. Although double splining requires more operations, it allows for 15 times more gluing surface. The resulting joint, much like a mended bone following a fracture, is stronger than the original material. Look at top and bottom edges of a door. Note the sandwiched look which is the double spline joint.
VENEERING: The beauty of hardwood veneer creates flexibility and interest in furniture. Veneers are usually cut 1/32 of an inch in thickness allowing the cabinetmaker to match almost identical slices. Veneer can be book matched, 4-way butt matched, slip matched or arranged in a sunburst, herringbone or checkered inlay pattern. Look for repeating patterns in wood grain, each slightly different fromm its counterpart. Note changes in texture. Feel variations below the lacquer finish in checkerboard or herringbone inlay and ebony lines.
HAND DECORATION: Although furniture is most often decorated with silk-screened or strenciled patterns, Karges artists use a method hundreds of years old called pounce and pattern. The artist lays a perforated paper pattern on the furniture and rubs the pattern with a chalk bag leaving a very faint chalk outline. Working from an open palette, the artist then applies lacquer colors creating a design much like an original on each piece. Look for irregular, asymmetric brush strokes and a signature. Each Karges hand decorated item will be signed by the artist either in a drawer or initialed on the piece.
FORESTS: One of God's greatest gifts to man is our planet's trees; therefore, we at Karges feel that furniture should not be a disposable item. Further, we understand that it is in all of our best interests to treasure and nurture our world forests. We believe it is important to seek suppliers who use sound environmental policies. Learn about the environmental philosophy of the furniture manufacturer and the harvesting and replanting policies used by their lumber suppliers.