Little known fact, I buy stuff too. You know I take pictures of stuff. Because of my blog, you know I build stuff. Now I am admitting I buy stuff. My latest acquisition is this small box I bought on a trip North. It came from my favorite primitives antique shop in Adamstown, PA. The box is around 6″ by 6″ by 11.25″ and looks a lot like this:

This is the box I bought.

This is the box I bought and it actually came with the key.

Being a box I bought, it is dovetailed:

Nice dovetails.

Nice dovetails.

The bottom view leads me to believe that it was screwed down to another surface. The bottom is unfinished and has three strategically placed presumed screw holes.

Thos Moser would have finished it.

Thos Moser would have finished the bottom.

A closer view shows that the bottom is attached with cut nails.

Not wire nails.

Not wire nails.

Now, we can take off the door

This is the door. The pins on the left go down into the frame, lock ur.

This is the door, inner view. The pins on the left go down into the frame, lock up. Other things have been attached.

Behind the door is this view:

Notice the notched in the bottom of the insert line up with two screw holes in the case.

Notice the notched in the bottom of the insert line up with two screw holes in the case.

I believe these notches provide clearance for screw heads attaching this box to something else.  If you look at the insert, you see that the notches were installed and not the results of wear.

Tool marks not wear marks.

Tool marks not wear marks.

Back to the front view, you see that a mortise and notch on the right make me think that there was a different lock in a different location: DSC_0622 Was the lock on the right in the past? Note the dado for the drawer bottom. Let’s extract the insert and take a look.

Front view.

Front view.

Read view. Dovetailed, of course.Tapered drawer bottom.

Read view. Dovetailed, of course.Tapered drawer bottom.

Right side. With hand written note.

Right side. With hand written note.

Close up of the message.

Close up of the message.

It says:

this box was maid

by J W Harrison 1863

Secret lock

on the left

I can’t make out the last few words in the last line. No spell/word check on the pencil.

Let’s look at the left side:

There is a big recess on the left.

There is a big recess on the left.

That matches the hfhfh on the left side of the case.

That matches the recess on the left side of the case.

There had been something nailed in the recess on the left of the case. I speculate it was a thin, arched slip of wood that acted as a latch retaining the insert until:

You insert a nail in the small hole on the left releasing the

You insert a nail in the small hole on the left releasing the “latch” allowing you to remove the insert. You can see the hole in the recess in the left side of the insert.

But wait, there are more views of the insert to be seen:

Top view. The back is dovetailed but the front is a nailed butt joint.

Top view. The back is dovetailed but the front is a nailed butt joint.

Bottom view looks not unlike a drawer.

Bottom view looks not unlike a drawer.

Seems they had a nail bend at the back of the drawer during assembly.

There are other seemingly random holes in the case that might have a use I’m not smart or experienced enough to understand. I’ll keep working on it.

And that’s my new box. So, there…