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Collectibles-General (Antiques)/Cutler Desk Discovery?


QUESTION: I bought a desk and although it was not identified as a cutler, it looked nice and was the right price (cheap!). When cleaning it up I discovered a stamp in a desk, which was covered in paper drawer lining (it was glued down). The draw was pretty dirty as you can tell from the shot.

While I think that means it's genuine, there are no other marks, at least none I can see.

There are slots in the side of the roll top. Thin pieces of wood are not plywood. It's oak.

Is it real? Can't trust my luck.

ANSWER: which drawer was the stamp in?

do you have all the drawers that went in the pigeon holes?

when it is put together line it should be does the outside of the base line up with the outside of the top (not the writing surface but the top that holds the curtain or tambour.

can you use the follow up function and post clear pictures?

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

side view
side view  
front view
front view  
QUESTION: The stamp was in the left side, drawer was the second from the top as I bought it. This draw fits in all 6 identical spots, and the wood had split slightly on the drawer bottom, perhaps indicating it has had heavy use. It may have been moved, and covered over as I discovered.

There were no drawers in the pigeon holes as I bought it. It does not look like anything actually went in the holes. The larger slots have removable partitions, and the smaller holes show no visible signs of wear.

I'm still cleaning before I put it together but some shots were taken before it was disassembled for transport.

ANSWER: another question;

does the lock have any markings?

tis a fine desk, Cutler or not but the label says what it is.

looks good, roll work smoothly?

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

top down
top down  
QUESTION: The roll works smoothly and when closed the draws don't open.

There seems to be a mechanism like a lever inside the pedestal that rests on a slot in the drawers.

When the roll top is open it rests on a wooden pin in the desk top. The pin pushes down on the lever which lifts up and above the slot in the drawers, enabling them to be opened.

Sorry I'm at work and can't attach a picture of that.

The lock is missing. I Googled for a replacement lock but none so far seem to be quite right. I don't need to lock it but it seemed incomplete without one.

I should to revarnish some worn areas, any tips?

the locking mechanism is standard for roll top desks.

someone probably removed the lock since when the roll is closed it automatically locks and if the key is lost it is difficult to open.

you use the term varnish.  may be varnish or may be lacquer, possibly shellac.  if someone before has refinished it could be poly.  I wouldnt know but to touch up areas of finish loss remember that shellac sticks to anything and anything sticks to shellac.  always use thin coats when doing touch up.

I have cut a piece of brass to go in the mortice when a replacement lock that fits could not be found.

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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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