I just finished a restoration on a chest- help me guess the age!

cslambertApril 29, 2012

Before and After photos and commentary can be seen HERE

This old 3 drawer chest was refinished with a period appropriate linseed oil varnish, and returned to good working order. Construction is pretty consistent with mid 1800's primitives I've seen. The sides are solid stained (managed to retain original stain during refinish) pieces of poplar timber with 1/2 inch cherry laminations on the front to match the rest of it. Square nails used, no pegs. Back is frame and panel poplar. Drawers are dovetailed, and made of poplar except for the fronts. Check out the photos- tell me what you think :-)

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cyn427 (zone 7)

Very pretty. I love small chests like this one. Amazing transformation.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 6:12PM
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Holy cow......who would do that to a lovely chest!!
What happened to the extra holes in the drawers for those awful pulls! Did you fill them? Does the lock work?
Lovely chest...guessing about 1800 to 1850....could be even earlier. Any idea what part of the country it came from....I'm guessing North East.
Linda C

    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 9:34PM
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Thank you both for the nice comments :-)


Not sure Ill ever understand what possessed the person to "update" the chest in such a manner. I'm just glad I was able to get it back to some semblance of what it was originally.

As for its origins- I guessed southern because of the wood used- cherry and tulip poplar. Also, I found it in Louisville Ky. What makes you think northeastern?

Unfortunately the lock mechanisms are no longer with the chest. 6 of the holes for the old pulls are visible and the other half are covered by the knobs. While refinishing I made the decision to leave some of the smaller alterations and blemishes present so as to not make it look completely new- to let people know that its seen a few things over the years.

I'm interested that you think this could be early 1800s or before- Do you know of any ways I could distinguish between mid 19th and late 18th century work?

    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 11:31PM
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It was cherry and poplar that made me thing north east..LOL!
I don't know of any way to really tell other than style and this is such a simple country chest, not sure there is much to go by.
I am sure there are experts that could tell you....But I don't really know to pin point something that is hand made of big wide boards.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2012 at 1:27AM
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Holy cow......who would do that to a lovely chest!!

Read decorating books and women's magazines from the early 1900s through about 1950. They are full of ways to update that horrible old furniture.

It wasn't "lovely" at the time, it was "out of fashion", "dated" and otherwise not up to snuff.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2012 at 8:33AM
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Fori is not pleased

...or read the current Decorating Forum! There are more than a few paint jobs there that sadden me. I have to admit, though, they do end up with fabulous rooms when they're done, but still...

Anyway, great save, CS!

    Bookmark   April 30, 2012 at 10:26AM
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And there in like the rub....some people take a piece of trash furniture, and make it look wonderful with an artful paint job, and others take a lovely piece and make it look like the one that was trash to begin with....with a coat of paint.
Painted furniture only makes sense it the stuff under the paint is garbage.
Linda C

    Bookmark   April 30, 2012 at 11:28AM
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