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Collectibles-General (Antiques)/Help identify this dresser and how to repair


Marks on top
Marks on top  
QUESTION: I just purchased a dresser which i believe is to be considered and antique. However I have never bought anything antique before and would like a little more information on this piece. What I would like to know is everything. What type of dresser it is,what kind of wood, around what year it was possibly made and tips or suggestions on how to restore it with out it loosing its value (if it has any) and what the possible value of this may be. I have taken some photos of the top of the dresser  it seems to be all messed up which I did not realize when I made the purchase . I am not sure it has burn marks,water marks, hot item marks etc. Also it seems some of the drawers are missing the little piece of wood that makes it so the drawer does not fall all the way into the back.  I believe these are wood wheels and on the back of the piece it says atlas furniture jamestown ny #619 antique mahogany any all all information is greatly appreciated.  Also any info on the company that made it would be helpful as well . This is my first piece as I stated before. I would like to start to collect things and literally
have no idea what I am doing what to look for etc.


ANSWER: You will have to be more specific, 'everything' is pretty broad

it is a chest of drawers with mirror

The wood is mahogany veneer, made around 1910

proper restoration will not decrease value but improper restoration will certainly devalue the chest.  As it sits it would bring about 100 in an antiques mall.  proper restoration will raise the market value to 450 retail.

the marks on top are from liquids.  probably perfumes, skin cleaners and such which contain water and alcohol and have penetrated and deteriorated the finish.  the finish is the coating.  stain is another thing i say this so you will understand that in the process of restoration or refinishing an item there is stain then there is finish.  stain can be dye stain or pigmented stain, they can be thick or thin, gelled or not. finish can be clear, amber or tinted.  the material can be lacquer, shellac, varnish or polyurethane, please do not use poly.  make shellac your friend.  read about it and become friends, this will make your knowledge more complete than those who do not know or use it.  but--you must research and learn what it is, and how to best use it.  it can be sprayed on, brushed on or applied with a rag  BUT you must research and learn.

the drawer stops are simple enough to they are either metal or wood, you will have to check that and let me know.

take the wheels off and leave them off.  jamestown was a center for furniture manufacturing for a time in the early 1900s.  there is a lot of history online.  too much for me to go into on this forum but you will enjoy reading.  the notation on the back 'antique mahogany' refers to the color, the number could be a color number or inventory number or a style number; and yes the wood is mahogany veneer too.    

as a beginning collector you should read as much as you can about manufactured furniture from the 1900-1920s as that is what you will find in abundance and affordable.  remember that all you read is not accurate.

learn the different styles and see how most all furniture built in the last 150 years combines styles.  learn what is incised carving, applied carving, relief carving, raised panels, dovetails, knapp joints, framp and panel construction, flat side construction, leg styles and feet styles, wood species--oak-flat, quarter, riff cut--, walnut--flat, riff, quarter and burl cut--, sweet gum, tulip poplar, beech, birch, mahogany.

learn how to identify what tools was used by the marks left on teh wood--toothing, water saw, banc saw, circular saw, scrub plane, finishing plane, fore plane, jack plane, and on and on.

you are on a journey that will last you a lifetime.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

the drawer
the drawer  

the drawer
the drawer  
QUESTION: Thaank you for all this great info. So to restore the top would I want to take off the stain|veneer sand it and shellac it more or less... I will read up about all the info you just gave me and have added photos of the drawers

to do just the top, remove the mirror and mirror stand.

use a paint stripper, after you practice on something else, and strip just the top.  dont use one of those semi paste strippers, they are not fun.  in a well ventilated place strip the top and rinse with a rag and lacquer thinner.  tape off the rest like  taping off a car for painting.  you will remove the coating.  the stain will remain.  the marks will still show some discoloration.  do not sand.  instead, send me a picture and we will go from there.

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robert klein


In regards to American antique, vintage and collectible furniture I can help with wood identification, styles, age, periods, historical coatings, materials, techniques, repair, restoration, refinishing, and value. I do not study mid century and later furniture nor do I deal in lamps, and other smalls. You may ask for values and I will give you current market values, I will not give you 'feel good' values. Understand that there are many factors that contribute to market value. If you want a feel good, unrealistic number, please call a local inexperienced appraiser. It is my desire to help you and in doing so I increase my knowledge as well. For that I thank you.


I have been in the antiques furniture and restoration business and in the sales of antique furniture for 40+ years and have continued my education in the trade attending workshops and seminars by various organizations, institutions, and private collectors.

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

BA Florida State University BA University of West Florida 1971

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