For over a century, Buffard Frères of Paris made banding for the
cabinetmakers of Europe. Using methods that yielded top-quality inlay,
the company made over 8000 styles of banding. After their initial bankruptcy
and reorganization in the 1930s, the remaining stock lay virtually untouched
until we bought it in 1989. In fact, in 1973, the remaining members of
the Buffard family scrapped the special machinery used to make the banding
so that it would not fall into the hands of imitators.
Many of the designs represented could not be made today. For example, the
use of vegetable ivory and pewter in banding is unheard of today. Most modern
banding is made of inexpensive wood (like linden) bleached and then dyed
artificially to approximate a natural color. With very few exceptions, the
colors in the Buffard banding are the natural colors of the exotic woods
that are their components.
Especially impressive about this banding is the fact that even the central
elements are face grain. Modern banding is made by slicing 1/40" (.025")
off a laid-up block that has only the outer layer or layers as face grain;
the central core will be end grain. The Buffard banding is not only much
stronger by having the core elements with the same orientation as the
outer layers, but it also can be beautifully finished since it is basically
all face grain with the magnificent chatoyance (refers to the depth and shimmer that wood can exhibit) of exotic wood.
Finally, the Buffard banding is all sawn banding, not sliced. As such,
it is thicker than modern banding and does not contain any fractured wood
as inevitably occurs in slicing.
The element that most strikingly sets the Buffard banding apart from
its modern equivalent is the design. It is difficult to imagine how some
of the banding could have been used with the ornate cabinetry styles of
19th-century Europe, but it is easy to imagine how they could be used
with the cleaner lines common today. One or two stripes of Diamond
Chain the length of a boardroom table could make even an accountant
take notice. The design possibilities are myriad.
As with most good things, all of the bands are in limited supply. Cabinetry
incorporating them will be the unique pieces of the future.
Much of the original stock from our 1989 purchase is gone. Click on
the link below to see the remaining styles available. All banding is 1
metre (39") long. Widths are noted in millimetres. Banding is stocked
only at our distribution warehouse. If you order banding along with other
items, the banding will be shipped separately.