Restoration of a Mahogany Chest of Drawers

I don’t know the full circumstances behind this sorry chest of drawers other than it came in with both top drawers removed. The two drawers were so twisted they wouldn’t fit into their respective apertures in the chest – and they looked like they hadn’t done so for some decades.

On closer examination, the chest appeared to be of excellent quality, exhibiting sound cabinetmaking and fine mahogany veneers, but at some time in its life, it had been sadly neglected.

Judging by the water splashes covering virtually the entire chest up to the height of the second drawer; it must have stood in a fairly decrepit building with severe roof damage. The angular water stains on the top of the chest indicated the drawers had been sitting there prior to the drenching it received. Presumably as the timber dried out again, the drawers adopted their contorted form.

The washed out chest of drawers as it came in.

The two twisted top drawers.

The condition of the two top drawers necessitated dismantling and rebuilding them, but the remainder of the chest merely required new drawer runners and a good clean.

The brassware was all original, but the back plates had been rotated  ninety degrees. It wasn’t much of an issue as reorienting the plates luckily hadn’t resulted in any damage to the veneer. They had left shadows in the polish, but they disappeared when the surfaces were cleaned.

The original, vertical orientation of the left back plate is just visible.

Everything shipshape and Bristol fashion.

About Jack Plane

Formerly from the UK, Jack is a retired antiques dealer and self-taught woodworker, now living in Australia.
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