2010 – A new Year!

Happy New Year from all of us at Artisans of the Valley – we would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their business and support. We wouldn’t be able to enjoy our crafts and engage in our artistic pursuits without our loyal clients, suppliers, affiliates, friends, and family behind us and we appreciate what you all have contributed.

We look forward to a new year that will hopefully bring new opportunities for us all, and we wish all of you a healthy, happy, and safe New Year!

– Artisans of the Valley


“A Handmade Tale” – WSJ Blog Article Recommendation

Here’s a blog to blog post recommendation for everyone who follows the path of craftsman and artists. A recent article featured on the Wall Street Journal digital network By Katherine Rosman | Photographs by Christopher Griffith entitled “A Handmade Tale” discusses the essence of the craftsman.

Artisan stands for quality. “The craftsman is a haughty figure,” says Matthew B. Crawford, the author of “Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work.” “He does what he knows how to do well. If he finds an audience, that’s great. But for him it’s about pride.” Richard Sennett, the renowned sociologist and professor at New York University and the London School of Economics, argues in his 2008 book, “The Craftsman,” that working with one’s hands impacts intellectual thought and philosophical reasoning. “Craftsmanship is about doing something well for its own sake,” he says. As Americans moved away from creating tangible goods—as they shifted from manufacturing to a service economy—they let go of the commitment and patience required to perfect a skill. “The work ethic has been weakened in America and Britain,” Sennett says. “It’s an issue of quality of work.”


Take a moment to read the full text – post a comment on your thoughts!


Restoration of the Game – Antique Chess Set Restorations

Jaques of London Howard Staunton original 300 Tournament Series Chess Sets

All things are subject to the impact of time, including chess sets. From their creation, pieces experience use and abuse all the while weathering environmental changes and natural deterioration of materials and finishes. The popularity of the ancient game of chess is known to have thrived for at least fifteen hundred years, inspiring the design and production of countless sets in as many forms as the imagination has to offer. Chess set designs have varied with the personalities of players and designers throughout the game’s history, including the set featured in this article. Sets included turned pieces, sculptured fantasy, medieval, architectural bases, and carvings in wood, ivory, porcelain, and various metals cast, bent, or otherwise fabricated.

The random correlation of these uniquely designed pieces with their rank on the board created frustration though players of all levels, with particular ferocity amongst tournament champions. The creativity and master skills of the artists, designers, and craftsmen became counterproductive to carrying out the original intention of the set. Mistakes raised controversy when the misidentification of a piece inadvertently altered the direction of the game, confusing even the most competent of players.

Jaques of London Howard Staunton original 300 Tournament Series Chess Sets - Restoration by Artisans of the Valley
Jaques Original 1849 Staunton Pieces Before Restoration

In 1849, Jaques of London introduced the first tournament standard set, designed by Nathaniel Cooke. Cooke’s revolutionary simplistic design quickly gained attention in the circles of masters, impressing famous English School of Chess exponent Howard Staunton enough to authenticate every set with his signature. Going back to 2003 Artisans of the Valley took on their first chess set restoration; which just happened to be diving right into the deep end as they often do. Artisans of the Valley had the privilege of completing the restoration of the ninth and second earliest known existing, of the first 300 of Jaques of London Howard Staunton tournament series chess sets. This blog entry discusses chess set restoration in general, featuring of few of our recent projects as well as some images from the inaugural restoration; we’ll also provide a link to a feature article entitled “Restoration of the Game,” which tells the full story behind the original conservation project.

Jaques of London Howard Staunton original 300 Tournament Series Chess Sets - Restoration by Artisans of the Valley
Jaques Original 1849 Staunton Pieces After Restoration

Artisans of the Valley is proud to be a small part of the amazing history behind Jaques of London – a company founded in 1795 and remaining without disruption within the same family linage. We are one of the very few restoration shops in the world that will handle chess set restoration. The fact that we provide this servers offers collectors an opportunity to obtain damaged sets and regain their value though a carefully planned repair of chips, cracks, and dents as well as replacement of missing crosses, pips, and in some cases entire pieces.

Jaques of London 4.4 Inch Limited Eddition Chess SetToday Jaques offers a wide range of chess sets to fulfill the requirements of the most discerning collectors and chess masters. Jacques has recently announced the release of a limited edition series of 100 reproduction 1850 tournament style 4.4″ sets available in a custom leather casket that individually fits each piece within its own space to ensure safe storage and transport of this most prized heirloom. Collector’s editions from companies like Jaques are the future antiques – these are extremely high quality meticulously crafted works of art that have a 200+ year history of gaining value. This is another fine example of the investment potential of tangible and functional artwork – following the same philosophy we covered in our two part “Investment Grade Blades” articles.

Be sure to visit our Gaming Restoration Gallery for more information about our chess set restorations!

If you’re a chess set aficionado you may also want to check out the collection of Master Level Chess Player & Collector Jon Crumiller on his website: http://www.crumiller.com/chess/chess_pages/jonchess.htm see if you can pick out the sets we restored … good luck! Jon is an avid collector and maintains a unique and diverse, ever updating, collection of chess sets from around the world. Artisans has been privileged to have conserved many of his prized possessions, in some cases providing the opportunity for future generations to enjoy sets that were neglected for decades now restored to their original glory.

Another great resource is Chess Collectors International: http://www.chesscollectors.com/ this organization is founded to focus on the interests of collectors around the world.

Jaques of London - Logo Image

For more great information about Jaques of London Click the Image Above


Artisans of the Valley Quarterly Review Newsletter – Vol 2 Issue 5 Released!

Artisans Quarterly Review is released only four times a year, plus a few special announcements. Artisans Quarterly Review Volume 2 Issue 5 by Artisans of the Valley is available as of December 6, 2009 and may be accessed with any PDF viewer by clicking on the following links or pasting them into our browser.

Current Newsletter Link:


The table of contents for this Isssue is as follows for the 4th Qtr of 2009:

  • Editor’s Monolog
  • Artisans on EBRU TV
  • Philadelphia Furniture Show 2010
  • Bob is in Chip Chats!
  • Posts, Grapes, & Vines
  • Walking Sticks & Weddings
  • Wedding Bridges
  • Green-Up Tip
  • Veneer Repair Turned Full Frame
  • Amazing Transitions Corner Unit
  • Amazing Transitions Bedroom Set
  • Our Friends @ Horton Brasses
  • Family Life Highlights
  • 12 Tribes Walking Stick

Also now available is a special feature edition of Artisans’ Quarterly Review featuring more details about us and the projects featured in our international television debut! Artisans of the Valley joins EBRU TV’s new show entitled “Blank Canvas.” Special Eddition Link

Artisans of the Valley offers museum quality period reproductions, original designs by commission, and antique restoration/conservation services, hand carving, modern furniture refinishing, onsite furniture repair, handmade walking sticks, and educational programs. Starting in 2009 Artisans is now offering a full line of architectural elements and furniture maintenance products. Our website includes galleries, feature articles, educational sections, a company background, and our new adventure album. We extend an open invitation to explore our site, and contact us directly with any inquiries or questions you may have.

Click Here to Download Artisans Booklet “Mini-Portfolio” a Printable PDF Cross Section of our Entire Portfolio:


Artisans Quarterly Review Previous Issues:

Vol 2 Issue 3 – 2009 * Vol 2 Issue 2 – 2009 * Vol 2 Issue 1 – 2009Vol 1 Issue 4 – 2008Vol 1 Issue 3 – 2008 * Vol 1 Issue 2 – 2008 * Vol 1 Issue 1 – 2008

Please contact us to request our full digital portfolio available on CD-ROM

Please be sure to add newsletter@artisansofthevalley.com to your email “White list” to ensure your spam filter doesn’t trap our email and newsletters!

We are open to and welcome submissions and requests; please send photos or details, background stories, and other anecdotes. We would love to feature client profiles, photographs with your pieces, and other just for fun, educational, or of-interest articles. We are also planning more features of our partners and affiliates; demonstrating the combined efforts of multiple artists to complete all the steps required in commissions and restorations.

Thank you for your time, your business, and your support!

Eric M. Saperstein
Master Craftsman
Artisans of the Valley
Office: 609-637-0450
Cell: 609-658-2955


An Interview With www.airtoolreview.com by Artisans’ Eric M. Saperstein (PART II)


Artisans’ Master Craftsman Eric M. Saperstein recently got the opportunity to interview with www.airtoolreview.com Air Tool Review is a leading educational resource, review and industry news site for everything that´s of interests to professionals and hobbyists that work with air tools. From novice to professional, this site has something for everyone.

We’re just slightly behind on announcing the release of Part II – but late is better than never! Take some time and review this website. There are some great articles on tools and feature artists!



“If there’s one thing I love, it’s watching a skilled expert demonstrate an ability that’s been refined over years of practice. It really goes to show that there’s no substitute for hands-on experience, earned through sweat and dedication.

That’s why, when I saw the work of Eric M Saperstein’s from artisansofthevalley.com, I had to ask him for an interview. He has some very unique woodworking philosophies that should great example to all of the aspiring craftspeople who read this blog.” www.airtoolreview.com Kevin S. – Editor and Co-Owner

Take a moment to visit this great blog to read the full interview, as well as dozens of other articles featuring tool reviews, artist profiles, and detailed information of value to artists around the world!


Artisans of the Valley Re-Ups TODL at 3,200+ Designer Leads

TODL_Oct2009_Artisans_SnapshotArtisans of the Valley joined the Trade Only Design Library, launching our presence into this world wide specification database on Election Day of 2008. We’ll be re-upping our membership and continuing our relationship with TODL having reached the a milestone of over 3,200 inquiries for our products and services. 2009 has opened the door to many new relationships – these firms are now fully aware of our capabilities.

2009 has been a tough year for everyone in our industry – we’ve lost some affiliates, suppliers, and of course some competition given the economy. That’s always a given unfortunately in the climate we’ve been experiencing, but it’s also a clensing that provides opportunity. Artisans is still standing – keeping our costs minimized and the quality of our restoration and custom commission services high. We’re here for our clients whenever they are ready!

2010 is approaching quickly an we’ll be reaching out to all the contacts we have made to discuss their pending projects. Our marketing phone campaign will begin in November and hopefully complete by year end. We’ll be contacting all the firms who directly requested phone/email contact throughout the year.

Our designer porfolio has been updated to reflect the latest newsletters and new pieces in our portfolio througout the year. We’re waiting for the EBRU-TV video to be able to add that as a special feature as well. Given we’ve gotten great feedback on the format of our CD porfolio we’re not planning any major facelifts we’ll just continue to update the content.

We have been looking to include some designer features and profiles within our blog site and newsletter as well. We’re hoping 2010 brings on new relationships and great new ideas for such content. Please contact us if you have any exciting products, press releases, or unique articles that you would like to promote. We’re pleased to be able to support our affiliates!

For more information about the Trade Only Design Library (www.todl.com) contact Bernadette Bumpers at bernadette@todl.com or (727) 441-2060.

This image is owned by Trade Only Design Library (www.todl.com) all rights are reserved; representation on this website is to provide an example of the marketing services provided by TODL and of the ongoing marketing efforts of Artisans of the Valley. Please contact TODL for information about opportunities for manufacturers and designers. For information about Artisans – you can contact us directly!



Artisans of the Valley Attending The 2010 Philadelphia Fine Furniture Show

cruiseterminalArtisans of the Valley will be attending the 2010 Philadelphia Fine Furniture Show pending in March at the Philadelphia Cruise Terminal. We’ll be arriving with an array of furniture, video slide shows, and presentations to provide a cross section of our portfolio and of our restoration services.

Artisans On Display:

Our special guests to date include the following artists: We’ll be posting their bio’s and times for their appearances as soon as we can get everything coordinated!

Appearances by Expert Furniture Maker & Historian David Healy; David is extremely well versed in antique tools, joynery, and finishing method of Early American Furniture Makers.

Randy Mardrus Eagle CarvingRumor has it that Master Glass Artist Randy Mardrus (http://www.randymardrus.com) may just be debuting an incredible new line of glass carvings; these will absolutely blow your mind. (See Ealge on Right)

We’ll have the work of our Master Chainsaw Carver Bob Eigenrauch on hand – and Bob has indicated an interest in also shopping by the show as well. We’ll get some time frames from him in case anyone wants an autograph! (Example Shown Left)

Bob Eigenrach Chainsaw Carving - Sailor FigureWe will offer Master Craftsman Emeritus, Historian, and Author Stanley D. Saperstein’s “Sharpshooters” for sale at the event – Unfortunately though Stanley will be out of town for the show this year and can’t make the event. Anyone who purchases a book at the event may opt to have it signed and shipped to them for receipt at a later date, orpick it up at our shop.

We’ll keep you posted on an appearance by Rosemary Buczek – Master Penman who will be stopping by to answer questions about her amazing calligraphy and hand illumination.Illuminated Manuscript by Rosemary Buczek (Parchment shown bottom right)

Of course – Artisans’ current Master of the Shop (and of arms) Eric M. Saperstein will be on site for the duration of the event.

Don’t forget to check us out on  “Blank Canvas” episode on http://www.ebru.tv (Go to Episode 4 – we appear around minute 12) this will give you a preview of some of the pieces we’ll have on hand at the show!

Artisans of the Valley is a member of the Trade Only Design Library (TODL) – We’ll be providing information packages for fellow artists regaurding this online international specification database at our booth!



Show Dates and Hours:

Saturday, March 27, 11am-7pm
Sunday, March 28, 11am-5pm
Admission: $12.00
$2 discounts for tickets purchased in advance


The Philadelphia Cruise Terminal at Pier 1
Philadelphia Naval Business Center (PNBC)
5100 South Broad Street
PH 215 387 8590 | FAX 215 387 8591

Artisans will have a limited # of “discounted” tickets available – if you are attending please let us know first come first serve!

We’ll be handing out our collectible “Table Cards” – a laser cut rendition of our New Wave Gothic Table – as well as our CD Portfolios.

http://www.philaifs.com/?page_id=26 – Join us at the preview party!


Shiloh Prairie – A unique hand carved scene featuring an 1874 Sharps Rifle

Shiloh Prairie by Eric M. Saperstein Artisans of the Valley Woodcarving Artwork

“Shiloh Prairie” is the net result of Eric Saperstein’s 15 year personal project that finally finished in 2009 …

This project has been a LONG time in progress. Conception occurred in 1995 when Eric commissioned a custom made 1874 Sharps, by Shiloh Rifle Manufacturing of Big Timber, Montana. With a wait of over four years, he almost forgot about the piece. When it finally arrived, right around the turn of the millennium, Eric decided that this work of art really should be on display, but having a home remodel in progress the rifle was stashed away in the safe.

The challenge was to design a display panel worthy of the hand crafted buffalo rifle. After quite a bit of contemplation, give or take about two years, he decided to lay out a buffalo prairie scene, insetting the rifle into the horizon. Now the decision was made, so Eric in character jumped right into the pattern development and carving somewhere around mid-2002. Just to point out the small gap in the timeline, in case you haven’t noticed it’s 2008, the end of 2008!

Read more in a feature article in PDF form – this article features the story behind the project, in progress shots, and a whole host of detailed finished photos!

Article By Eric M. Saperstein
Artisans of the Valley
103 Corrine Drive Pennington, NJ 08534 609-637-0450
website: www.artisansofthevalley.com

Visit www.carvingpatterns.com

for carving patterns by Lora S. Irish


Corner Unit Reincarnation – Restoration Profile

Solid Pine Country Corner Unit Restoration by Artisans of the Valley - CompletedTypical of the restoration candidates that make their way into our shop this corner unit was shy of mint condition on arrival. It was incredibly dry, the back was loose, the doors loose, panels falling out. The paint was flaking and deteriorated, finish was almost gone and just dirt and grime covering the piece. Pieces like this are often plucked from demolition projects, they can often be found in reclamation yards or auctions when a house is about to be torn down.

This corner unit was originally a built-in, a very common practice in the 19th century into the turn of the 20th century. The units were wrapped into the home using crown and base moldings and side fillers to ensure a custom fit. These moldings are most often lost or damaged when the unit is removed. Nothing stops the next owner from building in the piece, but in modern times these are most often destined to be a free standing furniture. Thus – feet were required. The crown and side moldings were shot and missing. Everything in general was just in bad shape.

Artisans does not make a general practice of modifying furniture, as the usual net result of random changes from the original design does not usually lead to a proper piece of furniture. These cases are exceptions, as the premise is really a restoration and not a modification of function we’re simply adding the missing feet and crown. Solid Pine Country Corner Unit Restoration by Artisans of the Valley - Before ImagesSo the process is the same as with most restorations – break it down as you can so you can cleanly remove the old finish and paint. Then rebuild and reassemble it with fresh adhesive and appropriate fasteners. The net result was a fully restructured and stabilized unit.

New feet, crown molding, and side moldings were fabricated. The unit was then painted inside with milk paint and sealed with oil based paint over the milk paint. Finish is natural Waterlox tung oil varnish.

Solid Pine Country Corner Unit Restoration by Artisans of the Valley - Before ImagesWe also had all the glass reset with new glazing (by a glass company I hate doing glazing!) … Cleaning up and oiling the hinges, putting in new screws to mount them and adding proper knobs finished off the project.

All said and done this was a good green project – reclaiming an otherwise landfill destined corner unit that became fully functional free standing country furniture. The piece is entirely antique pine – including the replacement moldings and components.

Solid Pine Country Corner Unit Restoration by Artisans of the Valley - Before ImagesSolid Pine Country Corner Unit Restoration by Artisans of the Valley - Completed

For More information about Artisans of the Valley

Visit our Restoration Gallery!


CustomMade.com BLOG Feature notes Artisans of the Valley’s EBRU-TV Debut


CustomMade.com joins Artisans of the Valley, a CustomMade member for the last 8 years in celebrating their artist feature on EBRU-TV’s “Blank Canvas!”


Check it out if you get a chance – click this link, scroll down to the show icons below and pick Episode 4 to see the full video! (start at 12 minutes) They are the second artist profile in Episode #4 at this link.

In the video, Eric points out that we are creating the antiques of tomorrow. The pressed board pieces of furniture that can be purchased at cheap furniture stores will never last long enough to be treasured keepsakes. This is a really wonderful video that helps explain the importance and history of keeping custom woodworking.

You can check out all of Eric’s work on our website at: http://www.custommade.com/gallery-profile.php?u=211

While you’re on CustomMade’s blog – check around there are hundreds of woodworkers each providing their own unique array of products and services.

To view our International TV Debut here simply watch the video below!