Thursday, June 16, 2016

A Fine Figure

I've known one other little table like this one, and she sold for $7,500 to a couple from Massachusetts. But that was an 18th century table, and another world entirely, when I worked for Liverant Antiques selling some of the finest early American furniture that exists.
        You can imagine my shock when walking through the aisles of the Elephant's Trunk Flea Market last month I spotted the twin to that valuable table tucked away behind some ragged vintage suitcases and a broken wheelbarrow. Jess and Amanda and I had already been at the flea market for several hours and I had bought everything that Jess's absurdly small SUV could possible haul (my truck was in the shop). She hilariously insists on referring to her mini SUV, which has a hauling capacity slightly less than a Radio Flyer wagon, as a "truck".
         So I knew I was already maxed out on space when I saw this sweet curly maple table, but I needed it. My first thought was JACKPOT, because had it been a first period 18th century table, it would have been worth its weight in gold. Sadly for my bank account when I flipped it over I saw that it was 20th century, branded by the maker. At $15 though, it was still a hella good deal, and I threw my cash down and awkwardly stumbled towards the exit under the now combined weight of the new table and an oak console that Amanda and I were already carrying together. I'm sure we made quite the spectacle.
         The whole magic of this table is in the material. Figured maple, tiger maple, curly maple, Whatever term you prefer, it's miraculous. The striping is caused by a mutation in the maple tree which results in the uniquely bold striation of light and dark tones in the graining. It's highly valued by wood workers and for good reason; it's show-stopping.
            The cabinet maker who built this table some fifty years ago knew that and did a wonderful job showing the figured maple off. He heavily referenced the design and construction of 18th century tables, and the result is so beautiful, the wood so breathtaking, that I would be a serious ass to paint it. For the record, I had no intention at any point of painting this jewel, or selling it. The old surface was worn, scratched, chipped, and water stained, so I meticulously sanded it entirely down, stained it, and sealed it. I put it at the top of our staircase so I can admire it every day.


  1. What a beautiful table you did a fantastic job restoring it

  2. It's so darned brassy with those zebra striped legs. LOVE it!