Tuesday, January 6, 2015

A 19th Century Drop Leaf Table

Solid cherry. Now that's a phrase I don't get to type very often. I see 20th century solid mahogany pieces from time to time, and loads of cherry veneer pieces from the 1960s. Solid pine and maple I see daily. Solid cherry though, that's a rare bird indeed.

Here's a few things I like about solid cherry. It's almost exclusively unique to Connecticut and Rhode Island during the 18th and 19th century. The cherry tree - no not the fruit bearing type you're thinking of- was native to our region and a favorite of fine furniture makers starting in about 1740 until just before the Civil War. In the mid 19th century there was a major shift from small craftsman run shops towards larger furniture making factories. With this shift we see a drastic change in construction, quality, and material. The furniture of the late 19th and 20th century is good, but it's not like the pieces made in the early shops by master cabinetmakers. There's a saying amongst American Antiques Dealers that sums it up nicely, "If it's cherry and it's quirky, it's Connecticut".

 A week ago I purchased two pieces at auction, the vintage maple sideboard you saw a few posts back, and this antique 19th century solid cherry drop leaf table. I must admit, I originally planned to break it down and steal the legs to build a custom farm table for a client. I debated for two days, lost sleep over it, and finally decided to sand the top to see if there was any chance the water rings could be removed, and the table saved. I'm glad I did. The top is stunning, the entire table it stunning. I love it so much we're keeping it for the guest house, swapping out the old oak pedestal table that was on the main floor.

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