Cerused oak is staging a comeback, and I couldn't be more excited. Dating way back to the 1500s, ceruse (white lead) was originally used in cosmetics, until furniture makers discovered that it worked beautifully as an overlay on porous woods. When applied to a wood such as oak, the white pigment fills and reveals grain lines without affecting the overall color of the wood's finish.
Known in Europe as limed oak, the material has recently been popping up on case goods, cabinetry, flooring and doors, although nowadays a nontoxic wax is used in place of actual white lead. It's a comfort to see craftspeople paying homage to the methods that were created so many centuries ago. And really, who doesn't love a comeback? Ceruse is back in the house and Britney Spears is an X Factor judge? It's a banner week!