No visit to the Hardwood Store is complete without a visit to the antiques shop at the far end of the same mill complex. Not that I need an excuse to visit either place.

On a recent trip there, I came across this desk:

A nice desk reasonably priced.

A nice desk reasonably priced.

Looks similar from the other side:

Still a nice desk.

Still a nice desk.

The dealer called it a Plantation Desk. That is surely one of the most flexible descriptors out there. No plantation is complete without a desk?

Of course it has dovetailed drawers:

Dovetails are a bit rough but the applied moldings cover a multitude of sins.

Dovetails are a bit rough but the applied moldings cover a multitude of sins. Nails help, too.

Interesting knobs and rosettes:

There's something about wooden knobs I like.

There’s something about wooden knobs I like.

And the small bookshelf atop the desk gallery:

Maybe not a bookshelf but I lack the proper phrase. Suggestions appreciated.

Maybe not a bookshelf but I lack the proper lexicon. Suggestions appreciated.

The builder(s) of this desk had a love of moldings:

They've got molding planes and they're not afraid to use them.

They’ve got molding planes and they’re not afraid to use them.

Around the desk, too:

Still interesting profiles.

Still interesting profiles.

A view from the back shows many construction details:

May all our projects look this good to the wall.

May all our projects look this good to the wall. The crown molding is one piece. That’s complex.

As good as this desk looks and as reasonably priced as it is ($650), it has one big problem. To enhance its appearance, the dealer has stained and finished it inside and out. Even after it’s been sitting there for a few weeks, opening a drawer makes me wish I had my respirator with VOC cartridges. (Volatile Organic Compounds) The outgassing of the solvent will be with this piece for a while.

This is one of the reasons that furniture has traditionally not been finished on the interior. I built a mule chest a few years back and gave the interior a light coat of thinned of shellac. I can still smell the alcohol and shellac. It is impossible for solvent to dissipate without a reasonable exchange of air. It’s physics. Or chemistry. One of the two.

There are other reasons that the interior of furniture is not finished. It adds cost without adding value. It is not likely that people will pay more for furniture with interior finish. If you have ever had a chance to see furniture backs or drawer bottoms and backs, you can appreciate that often aesthetics is sacrificed to commerce. Gotta eat. And it is the back/bottom of the drawer.

It clutters up the shop. A furniture maker gets paid for delivered furniture. When it’s done, they want to ship. Finishing the interior might add two to three days to the process and take up valuable space within the shop. The longer it sits in the shop the more likely it is to be involved in an accident. Then it needs to be repaired before it ships.

There may be environmental extremes for which an interior finish might be an advantage. There could be situations where the stored materials might damage or stain the wood that might justify an interior finish. Furniture with glass doors like corner cabinets or china cabinets should be finished. But for the rest, there are disadvantages.