Picture This CXXXII

This chest-on-chest was made at a time when mahogany’s adoption was virtually universal and walnut’s quondam reign was all but over.

Fig. 1. George II walnut chest-on-chest, circa 1750.

The rather tardy use of walnut is not the only behindhand element of this chest-on-chest though.

Despite the practice of concealing drawer bottoms and runners within deeply rebated drawer sides (figure 2) occurring as early as 1720, the gluing of runners to the underside of raised, nailed-up bottom boards (both visible from the side) was common until 1730 and persisted in rare occasions (as in this case) as late as 1750 (figure 3).

Fig. 2. Drawer bottom and runner concealed within drawer side, circa 1730.

Fig. 3. Simple, early style drawer base construction.

Jack Plane


About Jack Plane

Formerly from the UK, Jack is a retired antiques dealer and self-taught woodworker, now living in Australia.
This entry was posted in Antiques, Furniture Timbers and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Picture This CXXXII

  1. Ken Hughes says:

    Is this time frame consistent in America as well as England for the same time period or would this have been at a later date in the States?


  2. Eric R says:

    A beautiful piece and very well constructed.


  3. Joe M says:

    is the pine for the drawer sides?


  4. Paul Murphy says:

    Picture number 3 shows the side of a drawer with a broad “leaf” figure or “cathedral arch.” Obviously there was no proscription to employ only quartersawn wood for drawer construction at this time. Do you know when the regimen of quartersawn wood for drawer construction began?


    • Jack Plane says:

      Available boards would have been graded for the various requirements of a chest of drawers with, ideally, the drawer sides (and fronts) being selected from quartersawn stuff. However it wasn’t always the case. One often sees through-and-through pine boards employed, as with theses drawers.

      Quartersawn oak linings are more prevalent as that was the format in which wainscot oak was imported.



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