From the Archives

I am slowly scanning and processing decades worth of images from B.D. (Before Digital) This black walnut desk was probably made in Chester County, Pennsylvania, c. 1770. I was quite new to the world of furniture restoration then and even though this was a remarkable and complicated object I assumed I would come across this type of elaborate interior in the future. But I’ve not seen the likes of it since. These images are 30 years old, from a cheap, plastic lens camera. But I still have them to pull out and examine! What will be the fate of our jpegs in 30 years time?

The desk interior behind the fall front is one complicated with no surfaces or drawer fronts left unshaped.

The desk interior behind the fall front is extremely complex with no surfaces or drawer fronts left unshaped.

The prospect door is dished with a carved fan and a heart motif. Like the drawers it is made from figured black walnut.

The prospect door is dished with a carved fan with a heart and scroll motif. Like the rest of the interior it is made from figured black walnut making this work more difficult than it would be in straight grained wood.

The horizontal grain of the sides of the document drawers are dovetailed to the vertical grain of the walnut fronts.

The horizontal grain of the sides of the document drawers are dovetailed to the vertical grain of the walnut fronts. The front of the small drawer is canted back to accommodate the shaping. The top of the prospect door is arched and there is a small drawer above it.

When the lower drawers at the sides of the interior are pulled out, a spring lock, accessed from the upper long drawer of the case, is sprung to allow a section of the ledge under the drawers to be pulled out reveling a hidden drawer.

When the lower drawers at the sides of the interior are pulled out a spring lock, accessed from the upper long drawer of the case, is sprung to allow a section of the ledge under the drawers to be removed reveling a hidden drawer at the back with its own sliding lid.

2 thoughts on “From the Archives

  1. Nice interior! I made a walnut desk several years ago and used figured wood for the blocked and shell carved prospect door. I felt like I was carving stone! I don’t believe I’ll do it again.

    KIrk

  2. Yes, professional carvers typically avoid carving wood with any kind of figuring and let the carved surface alone be the adornment. This desk has some aspects of being a “labor of love.” It is hard to imagine the economics of the interior working out in the makers favor.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s