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Truly fine furniture has always demanded painstaking attention to detail - and that's still true today. Bernhardt blends modern technology and traditional craftsmanship to carry on time-honored standards of fit, finish, hardware, and construction.
Veneers & Finishes
- Veneer Characteristics
Veneers have long been used in fine furniture making and are stronger and more durable than solid wood. They resist shrinking, swelling, warping, and cracking due to humidity and other environmental changes.
- Veneer Selection
Premier woods are hand-selected and matched in color and wood grain to give a consistent look to each piece while enhancing the natural beauty of the wood grain. Unusual veneers and "fancy face" patterns are often used to add decorative detail.
- Finish Steps
An extensive, multi-step finish process gives each piece of furniture depth, accentuating the wood grain pattern and producing a range of finish looks from a high sheen to a natural "aged" appearance.
- Bone Inlay
Bone inlay is more than just a centuries-old technique; it’s an art form that takes considerable skill and significant time. Crafting these exclusive pieces takes several weeks, but the end result is most certainly worth it. Ethically sourced animal bone is carefully selected and hand-shaped by experienced craftsmen who cut, grind and sand each piece to fit a specific design. The bone is then laminated to the case piece carefully following a transposed template. Next, colored resin is troweled over the entire surface. After curing, the resin and bone are sanded smooth then buff polished for the final touch. This process and the natural materials give each piece a distinctive personality. To protect the finish, wipe with a soft, slightly damp cloth. It’s important to avoid the use of chemicals and household cleaners since they are too harsh and have the potential to damage the delicate surfaces used for these pieces.
- German Silver
German Silver has been used in architectural structures and for decorative elements for more than 2,000 years. The “silver” is actually an alloy of nickel, copper, and zinc and takes on the same characteristics as brass and bronze. Each piece is built from various woods, such as Mango wood or Reclaimed Teak, and then is meticulously hand-carved or embossed with a unique pattern - a process that can take up to a day to complete. Afterwards, it is hand-covered in minute detail with sheets of silver creating pieces that are as individual as they are beautiful. A protective topcoat has been added to each piece to retard oxidation and stains that can occur from liquid spills. If a spill occurs, use a dry cotton or absorbent cloth to wipe the liquid away and do not use any strong chemicals or detergents since they can damage the finish.
- Gold & Silver Leaf
The technique of gold and silver leafing began as early as the ancient Egyptians and was later refined during the Renaissance period. Today, this skilled craft is still employed using the same time-honored technique. The process begins with a tissue thin piece (leaf) of gold or silver. It is then hand-applied with a soft brush to a surface sprayed with glue, which is why wrinkles, lines and overlapping occur. These markings are an important differentiation between a painted and a hand-leafed product. Gold and silver leaf wrinkles, lines, and blocks will vary, creating a piece that is unlike any other. This technique and a lacquer topcoat create furniture that is as durable as it is beautiful. To clean Silver and Gold Leaf pieces, wipe the surface with a damp cloth.
Since the 5th Century BC, “parchment” from the skin of sheep and goats has been used in a variety of ways. Scholars used it as writing paper for their manuscripts and important documents, while many artists chose it as a canvas for their creative endeavors. Our pieces start with a wooden frame that is sanded and finished with a stain that serves as the shaded background for the goatskin or parchment. The parchment is then cut to size and laminated by hand - one piece at a time — by trained and skilled craftsmen. With natural variations in the parchment and the hand-application, each piece will be unique. A protective topcoat has been put on the parchment. However, when cleaning this surface avoid using harsh ingredients or corrosive chemicals. A soft, damp cloth can be used to wipe away any surface dust that accumulates.
- Petrified Wood
Petrified wood comes from the Greek word petro meaning "rock" or "stone" and is literally "wood turned to stone". It is the name given to a special type of fossilized remains of a tree with the appearance of the wood cell structure preserved. The fossilization process begins when trees become buried in sediment. Mineral rich water passing through the sediment carries away the decaying wood molecules and replaces them with minerals, usually silica. And over thousands of years the minerals crystallize producing a metamorphic stone fossil with the appearance of wood. These pieces are collected from areas with ancient volcanic activity and are hand-picked from the ground's surface. Each piece will vary in color, size and shape, thus ensuring a one-of-a-kind item every time. This type of collecting does not damage the environment and is in compliance with all environmental regulations.
- Mortise & Tenon
Traditional mortise and tenon construction is used to securely fasten pieces of wood, creating a stronger joint for lasting stability.
- Door & Drawer Fit
Doors and drawers are constructed with a precise, tight fit to prevent gaps and sagging, enhancing their appearance and structural strength.
- Table Locks & Guides
Hidden metal locks are used to reduce gaps on tables with leaves, giving the table a clean, smooth appearance and ensuring durability over time. Premium quality table glides are used to secure the piece, reducing warping and sagging and resulting in a sturdy table frame.
- Corner Blocks
Table legs are constructed with strong corner blocks glued and screwed with lag bolts, increasing the overall strength and rigidity of each leg.
- Materials & Finish
All wood sides and backs with veneer bottoms are used to create a durable drawer that is less likely to warp over time and humidity changes and to produce a smoother, more consistent drawer function. Each drawer bottom is stained and sealed, creating a smooth interior that is less likely to snap or damage clothes.
- Stop Blocks
Wooden blocks are nailed and glued behind each drawer to ensure that the drawer stops solidly and in the proper position when closed.
English dovetail construction is featured in the front and back of each drawer (French dovetail is incorporated where design indicates) to deliver a durable drawer box that will remain solid over time.
- Drawer Stops
Wooden stop pins are provided for each drawer with a silver tray to prevent the drawer from falling out of the case when pulled open.
- Drawer Box
A full-size drawer box is used to offer increased drawer volume and maximum storage capacity. Full-size wooden guides are also used to support more cubic feet of storage.
- Silver Trays
A silver tray with a tarnish-resistant cloth cover is custom fitted into a drawer in select dining room pieces to provide a protective, convenient space to store silverware.
- Drawer Branding
Since 1889, the Bernhardt logo has been a symbol of quality and value, and is displayed on each piece of furniture in a solid, cast metal plate.
Heavy duty solid metals are used to create hardware that adds beauty and durability while reducing rattling, rusting, and breakage.
- Custom Design & Finish
Each collection has its own signature hardware that is custom-designed and finished using a multi-step process, adding distinction and a rich appearance to each piece.
A range of methods such as the ancient Egyptian lost wax casting, die-casting or sand casing are used to create hardware with unique shapes, subtle markings and jewel-like details.
A variety of authentic, high-quality materials sourced from around the world are used to enhance the story behind each collection and create a unique design statement.
Each collection features dramatic design elements that express the story of the collection and allow consumers to reflect their own individual style.
- Design Teams
Recipients of the American Society of Furniture Designer's prestigious Pinnacle Awards, Bernhardt's design teams are among the best in the industry, creating dramatic collections for today's homes and lifestyles.
- 5-year Warranty
Bernhardt stands behind its fine wood furniture by backing it with a 5-year warranty to give consumers a feeling of confidence.
- Frame Materials
Bernhardt frames utilize engineered, multi-ply hardwood plywood as well as some 4/4" and 5/4" hardwoods. (Certain frames may also incorporate formed plywood in order to achieve certain frame contours.) All exposed wood frames employ 5/4" mixed hardwoods.
- Sturdy Construction
Bernhardt's artisans assemble upholstery frames using methods that ensure superior quality, such as sturdy mortise and tenon joints. Because corners are pressure points that must withstand stress and wear, Bernhardt craftsmen securely fasten corner blocks and braces to provide additional support and strength. Finally, they pre-test every frame for strength and durability.