Wood carving represents a rich and deep tradition which has spanned through Ancient Egypt, Chinese dynasties, Catholic and Protestant architecture, traditional and modern Asian art, and remains a popular and respected trade today. Throughout history artists have found that carving a wooden piece of furniture may sometimes present a problem or impossibility; and therefore one must apply a carving on to it. Carved wood onlays can exhibit abundant detail and elegant design; and when applied to a piece, the onlay imparts its beauty.
Though there are slight differences, a wood onlay can also be referred to as a wooden applique, medallion, or even a rosette. Carved appliques are generally are relatively flat pieces of wood carved by the artist's inspiration, which remains flat on one side. The design motifs can consist of geometric patterns or organic representations of subjects such as those found on wood rosettes or on a grape onlay. The onlay can then be applied onto another surface such as a piece of furniture, a cabinet, or wall. Applying a wood onlay to furniture or a cabinet can be done simply with the proper adhesive; if the onlay is too heavy an installer can use a type of hanging hardware or even nails. While onlays can vary in size, detail, and design; their artistic impact on the surface is instantly recognizable.
Carved onlays of today incorporate many designs of old, including elements of the Corinthian order. The Corinthian order, along with the Ionic and Doric, is one of three Greek orders of architecture. While Corinthian columns are usually straight and fluted the capitals exhibit a tremendous about of detail; including acanthus leaves and the Ionic Volutes (volute is Latin for scroll). The design elements of the Corinthian order are clearly visible in architecture around the world. Acanthus leaves and volutes alone find prominent places in countless pieces of architectural art.
Many carved wood onlays also incorporate acanthus leaves within their design. Acanthus leaf wood onlays can easily decorate kitchen cabinets and give them a sense of European elegance. Onlays also integrate volutes and many times use them with another element such as acanthus leaves. The scroll detail commonly starts in the middle and sprawls out into a more detailed perimeter. Carved onlays also display architectural elements from other eras such as the Renaissance, Baroque, and Restoration periods; and even more modern designs like Mission, Shaker, Tuscan, or Arts and Crafts. The well carved wood onlay will bring the intended period design to the piece onto which it is applied, and can easily be used accent each other. Osborne Wood Products, Inc. offers a very wide selection of carved wood onlays, some as small as three inches others as large as thirty-six inches. All are hand carved with detailed perfection in mind. Most of the selection is available in ten wood species making it a little simpler for the installer to match the onlay to the piece of furniture or cabinet he/she wishes to apply it to.