The Mystery Corner Cupboard – Chapter 2
November 30, 2014
The piece was made up of 2 cabinets, one on top of the other. The top case had shelves and 2 glass doors (which hinted at refinement). The bottom cabinet had one working drawer plus 2 faux drawers, and 2 doors.
The base cabinet appeared to have sat in a wet location a long time. Visually, not only was the once bright clear mahogany finish dark and lifeless, there was obvious veneer damage overall, with large areas loose and wavy on the lower face and sides.
The characteristic Philadelphia bottom doors of highly figured mahogany veneer were also lifeless, with large surface “bubbles” of loose veneer.
- This shows how dark the finish was
- First look - water-powered sawmill?
- Closer look - pit sawing pushed the date back
The whole piece sat a little cockeyed, as 2 of the 3 feet had experienced considerable rotting from damp conditions (the laborer’s cabin?).
Though in rough condition, it didn’t seem to show more than moderate age (100-150 years). That is, the damage seemed more from neglect than wear. Later this seemed explained by the fact that it was a formal type of furniture, for use only around Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter.
As I examined the piece more closely, on the back I saw that what at first appeared to be water-powered sawmill marks were in fact evidence of pit sawing, which placed it farther back in time, even the late1700’s.