Picture This CXLII

In early 2017, I wrote about veneered work being patched at the time of manufacture. Whilst searching my archives this morning for unrelated matter, I came across these images of a lovely walnut chest-on-chest.

patched_walnut_veneer_c1750_01aFig. 1. Magnificent walnut chest, circa 1750.

As far as I can make out, virtually every drawer front displays multiple contemporary patches (figure 2).

patched_walnut_veneer_c1750_01bFig. 2. The patches do nothing to distract from the overall beauty of the walnut veneer.

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, Picture This and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Picture This CXLII

  1. Joe M says:

    What would be the date/period of this chest? With the construction/pattern of the veneer on the drawers, I would have expected similar layout on the sides as well. Unless I’m just not seeing it in the photo.The patches most certainly do not take anything away from this nice walnut chest.


    • Guido smoglian says:

      Hi Jack
      Very interesting about thed patches,as as former antique furniture restorer,I agree with you ,the patches put in at the time of making would not have been noticed at that time and would have blended in ,
      Over time as the piece faded and the glue joints became exposed,they became more noticeable,packs of burr walnut sometimes had holes or damaged areas when they came in from the manufacturer
      ,and this was the reason for the patches.

      Regards Guido.


  2. Ken says:

    I have a three drawer chest that is VERY similar to this that I assumed was fake because of it only having three drawers. After seeing these pictures, I’m now thinking that it may just be the bottom half of a chest on chest. Is there anything I should be looking for to verify this?


  3. Jack…some of the fine detail within the close-up photos above, reminded me of details that can be seen within the photos you provided some time ago of the completed Readers Friend project. I went back and viewed those photos, specifically the 3rd and 4th photos of the fifth or final installment. Those photos focused on the areas of drawers and knobs, but show what appear to be small knicks, tiny irregular holes, and a few long scratches across the surface that appear to have been filled with possibly a dark wax. As with the Chest of Chest, I would assume these to have developed over a long period of time. However, the Readers Friend was a newly completed piece of yours. Could you please explain to me the method or process you employed to add these to the Readers Friend?



  4. Guido smoglian says:

    Hi Jack
    I have a question about the cross rail over the top drawer on a small georgian chest,I have read that the earlier chests did not have a top rail under the top,is this correct, I do not remember seeing one without a top cross rail

    Regards Guido.


    • Jack Plane says:

      Some early chests employed a packer to add thickness to the top in order to carry a deep moulding, but they weren’t a structural rail. Thinner topped chests often didn’t have top rails either.
      Top rails certainly weren’t obligatory.


  5. Guido Smoglian says:

    Thanks Jack
    For you comments,were chests without top rails supposed to be earlier than the ones with rails over the top drawer?
    I thought this may have been a quirk of the maker rather than a sign of a date of manufacture.

    In an article by James Storm .
    An introduction to the 18th cen mahogany chest


  6. Guido smoglian says:

    In Antique collectors journal vol 22 no 5oct 1987.
    He says “the top sits low over the top drawer thereby avoiding the heavy look which comes from having a top rail”
    I had never heard this before .not sure if design feature,or just some cheaper manfacturing idea
    Regards Guido Smoglian


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