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Solid oak cabinet - early 1900's? What's it worth??

Posted by mymystery (My Page) on
Sun, Aug 11, 13 at 2:04

Can anyone help me with determining whether this big old solid oak cabinet is of significant value? I brought it back from Denmark some years ago. My great grandfather gifted it to my grandparents at the time of their wedding, early 1900's, but it is not known whether it was new or old at the time. It is in need of restoration to restore it to its former glory, but I am reluctant to do anything until I know more about it's value! Thanxx in advance to anyone who is able to help!


Follow-Up Postings:

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Close up of carved middle door

Appears to be a soldier and a musician

This post was edited by mymystery on Sun, Aug 11, 13 at 2:40


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Close up of left door

End doors are matching


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Continuous hinge

Extends height of door


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RE: Solid oak cabinet - early 1900's? What's it worth??

The bun feet are characteristic of the 1890-1910 era, as is the faux medieval or Renaissance look, so it was probably new when it was a gift.

The panel is a popular motif of that era - a soldier and minstrel in a gothic gallery.

Checking online, cabinets and buffets similar to this are selling for $400 up into the low thousands, depending on size and amount of carving and subject matter. More carving = more money.

I'd clean it gently with mild soap and water, then with mineral spirits to get old dirt off and see how it looks.

Then I'd give it a good carnauba-based hard paste wax, not a spray-on anything and certainly no linseed/vinegar recipes off of Pinterest ... followed by buffing. it should clean up well.


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RE: Solid oak cabinet - early 1900's? What's it worth??

Thank you lazy gardens, your comments are much appreciated! I've been all over the Internet in search of something similar and have not seen anything like it or even remotely similar. The only thing I leaned was the term bun feet! May I ask as to where online you refer? I tried cleaning it when I first inherited it some 15 years ago, and as a result the middle panel is lighter! There were many many years of built up grime as my grandmother was the first of my grandparents to pass on. Mineral spirits, is that the American term for methylated spirits, or something entirely different do you know? There are some water marks on the top of the cabinet, what would you suggest for those? Thank you again or your comments, your time is very much appreciated!


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RE: Solid oak cabinet - early 1900's? What's it worth??

Mineral spirits is the same as white spirit. Denatured alcohol is our name for methylated spirits. Mineral/white spirits will clean off the grime and wax. Denatured alcohol will take off the finish, if it is shellac.

Are the water marks white or black? White generally means they are just in the finish and will disappear with refinishing. If the finish is shellac, you can work them out with a little denatured alcohol without having to refinish the whole piece -- just take a small brush, brush a very little bit of alcohol on the ring, and let it dry. This will re-melt the shellac in that area. Don't rub while it's wet or you will remove the shellac.

At the age of your piece, it is unlikely that the finish is either lacquer or varnish, as those were used later; however, it might be linseed oil. Perhaps someone else knows what to do in that case.

If the stains are black, it would take refinishing and possibly sanding or bleaching to remove them. I would live with them and call them patina, rather than stains. They may also be the result of something iron being left on the top; iron reacts with the wood and causes a stain which can go quite deep.

That is a really lovely piece with a wonderful family history. Congratulations on your treasure!


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