A Well Decorated Auction: Part 2

Last blog was all about highly decorated furniture at a recent catalog sale at one of my favorite regional auction houses.

Picking up where we left off:


New England Hepplewhite Inlaid Butler’s Sideboard – Not Sold


Bellflowers – Line Inlay – Veneer – Banding


Chris Davie, Linlithgow, Scottish Inlaid Tall Case Clock – $1600


Sunburst Corner Inlay – Banding – Veneer – Applied Moldings


Virginia Inlaid Federal Corner Cupboard – Not Sold


Tulip and Entwined Vine Inlays


Tulip and Vine inlays

The auction house says Virginia but this type inlay is commonly found on Kentucky and Tennessee pieces.


Virginia Federal Inlaid Chest of Drawers – $4000


Splayed French Bracket Feet – Line Inlay with Lower Drop Ball – Cock Beaded Drawers


Banding – Line Inlay


Chamfered Quarter Columns – Line Inlay – Cock Beaded Drawers


The Giles Family Southern Federal Inlaid Sideboard – $20,000


3.75 inch Diamond Line Inlay Above a Paneled Line Inlay – Drawers with a Triple Line Inlaid Lozenge Form


Found in drawer. Nobody told me…

A Well Decorated Auction: Part 1

Reviewing the pictures from the last catalog auction, I was struck by how many pieces were highly decorated, stringing, veneer, banding, crossbanding and almost anything else you can imagine. Over the next two blogs I thought it would be interesting to post some of my favorites along with their sale price. Not all sold.

First up:


Rare English Jacobean Inlaid Coffer – Not Sold


End Grain Veneer – Stringing – Drop Pull



Very Fine Georgian Inlaid Tea Caddy – $800



Rare English Jacobean Inlaid Coffer – Not Sold


Carving – Inlay – Stringing – Banding





George III Inlaid Sideboard – $2400


Diamond Escutcheon – Bail Pull – Veneer – Banding – Cross Banding


Cross Banding – Banding – Veneer – Stringing


Sunburst Inlay – Cross Banding – Banding – Veneer


Veneer – Cross Banding – Banding

Lastly for now:


1820 Late Federal Tiger Maple & Cherry Tall Chest of Drawers – $1600


Veneer – Banding – Figured Frieze – Cock Beading


Banding – Veneer – Cock Beading


Veneer – Banding – Applied Molding


Turned Columns – Cross Hatch – Veneer – Cock Beading

The Familiar, the Novel and the Useful.

Looking through my Santa Fe antiques pictures, I found a few pieces that looked familiar. Like this large chest:


Large, green and dovetailed.

Which I think is similar to this one I found in Winston-Salem, NC:


This one has an extra axle.

Wheel details are different, though:


Flowery wheels.


A bit mundane by comparison.

I saw this piece:


A tall, sophisticated chest.

and just knew when examined, I would find this:


Extended rear dovetails.

Although Chuck Bender says he saw this detail on an American piece at Winterthur, I’ve only seen this on French pieces. This chest is labeled as being from Belgium. Can be almost French if it’s from Wallonia.

The novel is this dovetailed, wooden attaché case:


Wood with brass hardware.


Spacious interior with none of those pesky dividers.

I found the useful while looking at this pair of large drop leaf tables:


Unusual to find a matching pair of drop leaf tables.

Then I noticed this odd appendage on one of the tables:


Not anything I’ve seen before.

Here’s another view:


Poor grain match. Must be used with a tablecloth, I suppose.

This device is a bridge of sorts for seamlessly joining the two drop leaf tables.


Serious locking hardware.

Something actually useful if you have two large drop leaf tables and need to entertain vast numbers of the right kind of people.

You Can’t Even Trust A 2″ X 4″ Anymore.

2 X 4 is more a title than a description.  2 X 4 lumber is actually 1.5″ by 3.5″ to begin with. A 2 X 12 is supposed to be 1.5″ by 11.25″ but I swear I’ve measured narrower.

Cleaning up the shop last weekend, I had This Old House on more or less as background noise. I wasn’t paying that close attention when I thought I caught sight of something unusual. Fortunately I was also recording it up in the big house.

I went up to check the DVR to see if I saw what I saw. Turns out I did see what I thought I saw. What I saw was Tom Silva framing a wall with what looked like oriented strand board (OSB) or laminated veneer lumber (LVL).


It’s made from genuine wood bits.

I read the printing on the wood and looked up Weyerhaeuser TimberStrand® LSL (Laminated Strand Lumber). It is described thusly:

Engineered for consistent performance, TimberStrand® Laminated Strand Lumber (LSL) starts straight and stays straight. As a result, it is one of the most innovative and versatile building products available, a suitable solution for a diverse range of applications: Strong and stable for tall walls over 10 feet; a single-piece solution for beams; straight and fast for rim boards; hassle-free and warranted for sill plates; affordable and fast for headers.

A little research informed me that products like this have been around for about fifteen years. The cost is two to three times that of conventional lumber. The main advantage is that it starts and strays straighter than the harvested stuff. (The Lord’s quality control sucks.) Used where being straight is important such as long unbroken walls with raked lighting or walls on which cabinets are to be hung. Wall for which bowing or irregularities would be bad.

Maybe not appropriate for furniture…

However, in the November, 2009 issue of Popular Woodworking, Megan Fitzpatrick and Chris Schwarz built a workbench from LVL (laminated veneer lumber). In December, 2014, Ms. Fitzpatrick blogged about the bench for PW’s online site and offers free plans for the bench. You can read it HERE.

Furniture soon.

More Secrets at an Auction.

First let me apologize to those of you that receive my blog via e-mail. There was an error that repeated. The word was spelled correctly; it was just the wrong word. I spotted it just after posting the blog. Seems I can’t go back and un-send a post. The error made it through the WordPress proofread tool and the grammar checker in Word.

Moving on…

The last auction I attended not only had three more butler’s desks but it had a fair number of secret compartments. Maybe not all secret. Some are more concealed than secret. Remember this desk?


From the last auction.

Looking at the gallery, you can see the document boxes on either side of the prospect door without any obvious way to open the boxes:


Document boxes with no pulls or obvious way in.

Looking within the prospect reveals nothing of use:


Although it looks like there might have been something in here once, it’s not here now.

Removing the drawer provides the answer:


There’s a hole here with a thumb catch within.


That’s how you get to the document box contents.


Same on the left.

Next is in this butler’s desk:


Large furniture with secrets.


Nothing obvious here.


Overextend the gallery drawer and see an odd cutout from above.


Prospect door is unhinged and un-handled.


Prospect door opens like a garage door or door on a barrister’s bookcase.

Not really a secret but certainly not obvious.

Now we move on the this more-or-less traditional slant front desk:


Nice ball and claw feet.


A quick glance at the gallery reveals nothing.


Clues: 1. Looks like a box in a box. 2. Pigeon hole doesn’t seem deep enough.


The box pulls out. Note: the front half of the box is walnut and the back is poplar. Dovetailed, though.


There be drawers in the back of the box. Note the recess for the spring latch on the top of the box. You can also see part of the hole for releasing the latch.


The prospect without its insert. Spring latch is visible.

Another desk with bookshelf:


Just a bit fancier.


A fancy gallery.


Decorated prospect door.


A little shallow and a box in a box. Wiggles a bit when pushed and pulled.


This box is shallower than the previous desk


because the drawers are in the deck and not the insert.

There was something going on with a latch and a horizontal divider that I couldn’t figure out:


It remains a secret.

The gallery was rapidly filling with patrons drinking free moderately priced white wine and scarfing steamed shrimp and crab cake sliders. The wine auction was about to start and I had to go.

Finally, there was this handsome desk:


They just keep getting better looking.


with the requisite gallery.


But, alas, the secret is long gone.


Now that I have resolved my DSL connectivity issues, blogs should be coming more regularly. I hope.

Interesting Things I Have Seen Recently.

I was in Asheville, NC recently and thought I might share some of the more notable things I stumbled across. The most interesting thing was this unique steamer trunk:


Large steamer trunk, well-worn and in need of TLC.


Better lighting from this side.

Aside from bring rather close to a cube, what makes it interesting is the unusual way it opens on a 45° angle:


First one I’ve seen.


It needs work but is reasonable priced. Still there if you want if.

But, I also found one of the most tragically designed chairs I’ve seen in quite some time:


Who is responsible for this? What were they thinking?

And not better from the back:


Note the tasteful screw hole buttons. Something Frank Klausz has never had the courage to use.

Lastly in the Really? and People Buy This? category, we have this:


35% fewer calories makes it a healthy product worthy of green packaging?


Better in aluminum?

Still not available at the local hippie food co-op.

Another Three

The end of last week was busy, three auction previews in two days. Two of them were exceptional and the third was above average. The local high-end auction house had its summer catalog sale. I found three more butler’s desks there and like the Santa Fe finds, one of them was a surprise.

First up is this one that just screams butler’s desk:


China above and genuine drawers below.

And the drawer:


A very attractive gallery with cross banding and veneer and leather.

The fall front does not have the conventional quadrant stays:


Seems closer to a knife hinge.

And really interesting legs and feet:


Legs and feet of an age.

The next one is also fairly obvious:


More veneer and banding.

The butler’s drawer:


A prospect but no document boxes.

With the quadrant stays:


Not the easiest to install but doable.

Bookshelves above:


I aways wonder if the shelf supports are dadoes or applied. Dadoes in this case.

And a press below:


Seems one drawer is missing.Interesting stays on the doors:


One of the few I’ve seen on doors.

The last one looks like your typical server:


Not typical but not exceptional.

With decoration:


Bellflowers, veneer, cross banding and string inlay,

But there is the butler’s drawer in place of the typical drawers:


No prospect or document boxes.

And quadrant stays:


This drawer is dovetailed, as you can see.


They Come In Threes.

I just got back from a week in Santa Fe, NM. I had a week’s work in Las Vegas. It is one of those towns that I probably wouldn’t use my own money to visit. If you pay me, I’ll go. My wife took advantage of the free hotel room and cheap airfares and flew to join me at the week’s end. From there, we flew to Santa Fe to vacation for a week. We were joined there by her beach buddy. She had always wanted to see Santa Fe.

This worked out well. We all get along famously and having a third person along helped with decisions on where to take meals. This also freed me from the obligation of visiting every craft shop and gallery, allowing me to visit some museums and antiques shops. Everybody wins.

On Saturday, they binged on a busy day of shops and a significant crafts festival in the Plaza. This left me free to hit every antiques shop I could find. Problem is there are only a few pure antiques shops. They are mostly self-identified as consignment shop leaving them free to sell whatever they can. The last shop I visited was a big place with mostly antiques with some mid-century modern and eclectic imported furniture to fill out the inventory.

There were two sets of three related items that jumped out at me. Similar but not the same. Like this chair:


A typical staked chair.


Built as you would expect a staked chair to be built.

Then I found this slightly fancier variation on a theme”


You must pay extra for all the ornamentation and carvings.

Then, as the most extreme example of chair design, this curious example:


Not actually staked but a variation on the theme. Fancy above.


And fancy below.


The other set of three was a cluster of three butler’s desks. Butler’s desk is a rather broad definition that typically means, the like the old Quasar TV, it has its works in a drawer. Usually, a drawer pulls out and has a writing surface and storage behind the drop down drawer front. For example, this desk:


Looks like a chest of drawers.

With this gallery in a drawer:


Small drawers, pigeonholes and a prospect.

This is a taller version with china above:


Storage above and below.

The butler’s desk part:


Really rather plain and relatively uninteresting.

The two knobs do have ivory, strike that, bone centers:


Could be mother-of-pearl.

A tasteful selection of decoration:


Cross banding, string banding, cock beading and a complex profile on the nominal desktop.

And below, a press, shallow drawers behind doors:


This might have been and actual butler’s desk with china above and linen below

The third desk was the surprise; I did not see it coming. It looks like any other chest of drawers:


A beautiful dresser with great veneer.

Except, it has a desk in a drawer:


Shorter than most.

With a latch only on the left:


Most have latches on both sides.

More from this consignment shop tomorrow.


A Different Hinge You Won’t Use.

Sometime this past spring I found myself in Florence, KY. As luck would have it, there were antiques dealers there. I visited one.

Along with the usual antiques stuff, I found this crate:


It was a crate in Florence and I found it.

I opened the crate and immediately noticed the hinges looked unlike others I’ve seen:


More different looking hinges.

Close up, they look like this:


Hinge leaves are joined by a wire loop.

See more clearly with this exterior view:


Hinge leaves not joined directly.

A few rows over, I found this crate :


Another exquisitely crafted shipping crate.

With the same hinge:


Same hinge, different crate.

Then a few weeks later in Raleigh, I found this French munitions crate:


Hinges look somewhat similar.

Different implementation but same idea:


Leaves are different but the loop is the same.

Front view is interesting as well:


A more formal design with front latches.

The latch is also loop based.


A latch and it’s protectors.

It is an interesting design for a hinge. When closed, it firmly holds the lid in position. When opened, the loops allow the lid to open fully getting the lid out-of-the-way while putting no strain on the crate back or the lid.

Yet, I don’t think many of us will be using this hinge.

More From Louisville.

The large, former meatpacking facility in Louisville had more there than the sash trimmer and lathe. It is filled with furniture both antique and vintage. There are tools, collectibles and things that might be defined as knickknacks, another flexible phrase. In the way of tools, there is this large chest filled with tools:


Most of the tools should be users.

There is this old staked bench with an odd notch along one side:


A purposed installed notch. I am open to any suggestions.

There is this table that looks like it could be another candidate for being a Thomas Day table. Many things are consistent with Mr. Days other tables:


The feet, the table size and hinge.

The base post is different:


Not what I am used to seeing. But I haven’t seen everything.

It was too expensive and my trunk was filled with a sash cutter. It was there three years ago when last I visited.

Among the interesting non-antiques if this makeup table and chair, circa 1890-1910 (technically an antique):


Chair with mirror.

And the table/desk:


They come as a set.

Another novel contemporary piece is this china with storage:


A rather large china/server.

With a disguised pull out table:


Novel but is it useful?


It isn’t very deep but and might be deep enough. I’ve never seen another like it.

There is what they call a birdcage chair in Louisville:


Something just screams Addam’s Family to me.

And lots of little details to fascinate, like this tiger maple knob with an ivory or mother-of-pearl button:


Knobs like this are no longer made. Unless they are.

Wavy stringing on this chest:


Fairly fancy for a simple chest.

The rest of the pictures are HERE.


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