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Antique Furniture/Identification of dresser


picture of entire dresser
picture of entire dres  
QUESTION: I recently purchased this dresser and am trying to figure out what style it might be and what type of veneer is on it.  I was able to strip one of the drawers and get a picture of what it looks like under the paint.  Would you happen to have any thoughts on what time frame this piece is from and what type of wood the veneer is?  Also, do you think that the handles that are on it are the original handles?

ANSWER: the handles are appropriate, they could be old ones or new ones, you have to look at the nut and threads to tell.  most of the old ones have been re stamped and from the front they look the same.  check to see the outline in the wood after removing one.  if the outline in the wood matches the outline of the back plate of the hardware then most likely it is the old one.  the bail or handle part should be steel, backplate brass.

use the followup function and post another picture of the wood grain on the drawwer and the top, close and clear.

made around 1900-1915.
probably had a mirror at one time, check the back to see if you can see where the mirror supports were screwed into the back.

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drawer front
drawer front  
QUESTION: Here are a couple of clearer pictures.  The first is a closer view of the drawer and the second is of the top of the dresser after I stripped it.  I do not think that the handles are original as there was a set of smaller spaced holes under the base plates.

ANSWER: wood appears to be birch or tulip poplar, both have similar grains.  tulip poplar is a bit softer than birch.

i can see in the photo where it looks like it had a round knob originally.

although there is no particular style attached to this form, it was very popular in what many refer to as the golden oak period.  the two top drawers are serpentine in shape and the configuration is simply described as two small serpentine drawers over two long drawers.

refinished and made so everything works right it would sell at 375-500 in a retail setting.

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QUESTION: Can you recommend some good resources for restoring this piece?  I want to make sure I do a good job and get it as close to the original condition as possible (one major concern would be staining the wood or just putting a clear coat on it)

not sure what you mean by resources.

first step is to strip completely and cleanly.  i do not ever recommend the thick strippers.  let the stripper do the work, keep the surface wet while working it.

sand lightly with 180 grit paper

stain with minwax golden oak or minwax walnut.  apply with a brush and wipe dry.  color depends on your tastes.

dont listen to the home improvement sales persons!!

after staining you will need to apply a clear coat.  shellac is a good choice.  if you have not brushed on shellac (or anything else) before, practice on something else.  after da conating dries you will rub it out with 320 no fill paper.  might have to get it at an auto paint supply store.  rub it smooth but dont rub through the clear coating into the stain.  wipe it clean and blow it off and apply another coat of shellac.  when applying shellac, do NOT keep brushing back and forth or you will have a mess, it dries fast, so just get in on, you will smooth it with the paper.

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robert klein


Regarding American antique, vintage, and collectible furniture I can help with wood identification, styles, age, periods, historical coatings, materials, techniques, repair, restoration, refinishing. Please read instructions for posting.


I have been in the antiques furniture and restoration business and in the sales of American antique furniture for 40+ years and have continued my education in the trade attending workshops and seminars through several organizations.

Professional Refinishers Groop, Int., AIC, Antiques Dealers Association

BA Florida State University BA University of West Florida 1971

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