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Carving Out A Safari - A custom carved chest


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Artisans of the Valley
Feature Article - Hand carved wildlife scenes on a hand made solid cherry chest.

Artisans of the Valley, based in Pennington, NJ, is an exclusive custom furniture, cabinetry, carving, and restoration shop. These craftsmen are the last of the traditional apprenticeship method of passing on the skills of furniture design, joynery, carving, and finishing. We offer our custom furniture by commission, and we hand sign and date each piece upon completion.

For over 35 years Master Craftsman Stanley D. Saperstein has perfected his skills and in the process passed these skills to his son Eric. Eric has now taken the reins of the business, studio, and the title of Master Craftsman.

Artisans offers heirloom quality hand rubbed shellac and tung oil finishes as well as hand painted options on any of our pieces. In addition, modern finishes are available through our affiliates including the full spectrum of lacquers, acrylics, and urethanes.

Artisans of the Valley is the last of the true conservation studios in New Jersey, providing museum quality restorations, refinishing, repair, and preservation services. Artisans will evaluate your antiques and collectables to determine the best options for your cherished possessions. Artisans is one of the few remaining restoration studios that can handle restoring a true shellac finish and provide the skills necessary to replace or restore damaged ball and claw feet, detailed carvings, and veneer.

Bent on educating our clients, Artisans offers a tactical theory on restoration entitled “The Philosophy of Restoration.” This article outlines the concepts associated with restoration, and helps dispense the myth surrounding antiques and their care. Artisans restoration services are not limited to furniture; we handles military artifacts such as firearms, swords, and leather goods. We are the only conservation studio restoring antique and collectable chess sets; bragging rights include several the famous Jaques of London first 300 Staunton series sets.

Artisans provides services for commissions, restoration, carving, and design to residential & commercial clients, design firms, and architects. Please contact us to discuss the specifics of your project.

Published in: Design, Entertainment & Humor
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Carving Out A Safari - A custom carved chest

  1. 1. C a rv i n g o u t a S a fa r i When the time comes to commemorate your passions there are a variety of ways to immortalize them into an heirloom. Some people decide to commission a portrait, others take photographs, people write songs, and tell stories. Then there are some the find that carving or sculpture is more suitable to their mindset. This piece is a “Safari Chest,” a solid cherry locker featuring hand forged custom black iron hinges, designed to not only house the prized possessions of its master, but to itself provide a venue of memories, conversation, and mystique. This particular commission required us to portray the favorite game of a lifelong hunter and outdoorsman, these included the whitetail deer, the elk, and the bear. Thus, we developed three panoramic scenes portraying each of these great beasts in their natural habitat. Commissions of this kind require us as artists to impart the skills of analyzing our client’s personality, pattern development, furniture design, joynery, carving, finishing, wood burning, and tinting. These pieces demand creativity, and once we have been engaged and define our initial working parameters the artistic freedom takes charge once the commission gains momentum. The patterns are a composite consisting of extracts from Lora S. Irish, and original sketches by Stanley & Eric Saperstein of Artisans of the Valley. The scenes are complete with primary foreground creatures, background plots, plant life, horizons, and transitional features to define depth and perspective. All carving is completed by hand with a relief depth up to 1/2”. Detail features such as fur, leaves, grass, bark, ripples, and shadows are highlighted using a wood burning pen. The chest is tinted using acrylic washes, sealed using shellac, and finished in a hand rubbed tung oil varnish. The use of color and contrast in our pieces develop a unique visual array where the features of each scene become realistic with all sorts of obvious and hidden details. This chest is a a portfolio class commission, created and hand signed by Master Craftsmen Stanley & Eric Saperstein, January of 2007. Article By Eric M. Saperstein Artisans of the Valley 103 Corrine Drive Pennington, NJ 08534 609-637-0450 website: Visit for carving patterns by Lora S. Irish
  2. 2. C a rv i n g o u t a S a fa r i