Picture This CXIII

What’s going on here?

George III mahogany chest, circa 1770. (Christian Davies)

Jack Plane


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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28 Responses to Picture This CXIII

  1. Paul Bouchard says:

    In an R W Symonds book I have, it seems to show that drawer slips were only needed with sideway oriented drawer bottoms. The front to back ones should only need to be in rebates with a runner glued to the bottom.


  2. hbm-la says:

    I got it! I got it!. Do you beg the question?

    That is one clean ~250 year-old piece of furniture! Not one bit of graffiti, scuffed foot, water marked top.


  3. Cole says:

    Refinished, veneer removed from the drawer fronts?


  4. Cole says:

    The bead that should surround the drawers is missing also.


  5. Joe M says:

    Cock-beaded drawers and brush slide, early 18th C. construction. Cross banding on top, cross grained molding on base, early 18th C. construction. Unusual design of bracket feet.
    The top has “straight grain” molded edge, is not cross grained like bottom molding.
    Later 18th +C. handles and drawer bottom/drawer construction. Added to a very, clean and crisp condition chest…makes this possibly a Victorian/modern “interpretation” of a Georgian Chest of drawers using methods and styles of several “Periods” (fingers crossed)


    • Jack Plane says:

      All the mouldings are long-grain. The style of bracket feet is common to the latter half of the eighteenth-century. The chest is essentially circa 1770.

      The drawer construction is the peculiarity.



  6. Eric R says:

    I can’t find what you are talking about, but it certainly is in good shape for a piece that old.


  7. Assuming that the drawer base is solid – not a later ply addition… (and I’m struggling here)
    The drawer bottom boards appear to be either ship lapped or have batten (or slip or muntin?) beneath the joins – either to stop small change and detritus dropping through to the drawer below, or to add some rigidity at the edge of the bottom boards? Or do I have no idea?


  8. The drawer bottoms are shiplapped with slips on the sides.. What’s keeping the back of the drawer bottom in place? Seems unusual for the entire drawer bottom of that size to be captured, but I’m no expert.


  9. Matthew Pease says:

    The bottom boards have been cut to include the sapwood, which is not as worm resistant or durable as heartwood, so you would expect to see some damage to these areas after 250 years. They must be replacements, but are unlikely to make it all the way to the next 250.


  10. Greg Forster says:

    bottom boards are running front to back
    instead of side to side


  11. RogerB says:

    The grain should run side to side ?


  12. Mihai says:

    To me, the unusual things are:
    – drawer’s bottom material -seems to be mahogany rather than pine
    – drawer’s bottom grain orientation
    – drawe’s bottom arrangement: from widest to the narrowest. Usually the widest ones are on the side and the one in the middle is narrower, acting as a wedge
    – the lack of lateral guides (obviously the drawer is wobbly, being to wide)


  13. Evensteve says:

    Drawer bottoms run front to back rather than side to side as expected in later construction


  14. Jack Plane says:

    What discombobulates me with this chest is that front-to-back drawer bottoms are quite rare after 1755 and virtually unheard of after 1760. To compound my bewilderment, the bottom boards are located in moulded slips which didn’t appear until around 1790.

    Everything else about the chest points to a date of 1770.



  15. I would suggest that both problem could be answered quite easily.
    The chest of drawers is period correct and so are the drawer bottoms do go back to front but why the slip. Well the answer is in the drawer bottom timber themselves.This oak bottoms with large sapping has shrunk and oxidized so it has lost its width. So instead of finding a narrow board the have added new slips under restoration. It would be great to see the underside and back of the drawer as a hole. I would also say the added the crossbanding as i see no real connection to the facade.


    • Jack Plane says:

      Although I understood the chest was entirely original, the slips have to have been added at a later date.

      I have come across several chests-of-drawers with crossbanded tops from the same period as this chest, so that doesn’t concern me.



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