Two weeks ago I went to the other local auction house and saw this desk:

Circa.1790 Alamance County NC Quaker Walnut Slant Front Desk

    P1020355Realized Price: $875Description: Ca. 1790; 46.75in height x 44in wide x 24in depth; walnut primary; southern yellow pine secondary; beautiful satin wood diamond inlay key escutcheons in fall board and lower four drawers; slant front desk with fitted interior with four graduated drawers below; straight bracket feet; secondary has beautiful rose head nails throughout; overall excellent with very minor repair; medium brown surface finish throughout.

A quick look showed some interesting details:


Back was typical except the nails did not look to me like rosehead nails. But, the description was written by a professional (in that they get paid.)

Left side was unusual:


It is not unusual to see glued up sides but not usually one board being under 2″ wide.

If you look closely, it does seem that both side boards are pinned to the desk inner structure.

Then there are more odd things like this apparent tenon on both sides:


A tenon without a cause. And it too seems to be pinned.

I thought it might be a spline supporting a glued up panel but studying the grain, the side is one board and not veneered.

Then there is this repair on the top at the lock escutcheon:


A well executed repair. No telling how old the repair is.

And a few expected things:


The carcass is joined with a mitered rabbet, not dovetailed.


Dovetailed drawers with cockbeading.

If you look in the upper left-hand of the above image, you can see another interesting little nailed on detail. An odd little point:


A little point extending the line of the angled desktop. And some edge banding.

I looked through my library but couldn’t find any more examples of this odd little detail. Doesn’t mean it wasn’t there, it just means I couldn’t find it. Never hired a photo editor.

Then last weekend we went to Charleston, SC and I saw this:


Another desk with the added point.


The point is definitely added and not part of the original structure. The edge banding is added as well.

An American Hepplewhite Slant Front Desk.
Priced at $695.


There’s a desk under there somewhere, trust me.


Carcass is rabbeted.

Then, across the aisle is this desk with bookshelf:


No description available.

And, again the point:


The point and the edge banding are again applied.

However, the points’ profile continues a molding on the carcass under the slant top.


The gallery is a bit mundane.

One interesting feature there is that the primary wood does not extend for the whole depth of the gallery:


Only for the first two inches, then the secondary wood. Material costs meant something then, too.


Drawers are dovetailed. I thought you’d want to know.

Then, in another shop, this:


A block front desk with bookshelf with added points, edge banding and molding.


A more elaborate gallery. No secret compartments.


Interesting feet.

But then I opened a drawer and saw machine cut dovetails and this:


Branded. Not old.

Biggs was a Richmond, VA based manufacturer of reproduction furniture that was acquired by Kittinger Furniture in 1975.

Realizing it wasn’t old, I neglected to take a picture of the entire desk as a unit. I do that from time to time, not seeing the secretary for the dovetails. It looked a great deal like a block front version or the  previous desk with book shelf.

The points must have been significant it they are included on reproduction furniture. This is a detail that not many would miss if eliminated.

More research required.