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Collectibles-General (Antiques)/Spool Bed Headboard and Footboard


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Side Rails  
QUESTION: I am 62 years old and I am the fifth generation in my family to sleep in this bed.  Approximately what year was this bed made?  
What area of the country was it made? (My folks were originally from NY, and settled in OH.
My grandmother stripped the paint off of this bed before I was born and rubbed linseed oil into the wood...that was over 60 years ago.  Nothing has been to the finish since that time.  How should I protect the finish/wood?

There is some damage to one side rail. Do I need to have a specialist fix this?  Or can anyone who is a skilled woodworker do so?

Thank you so much for your consideration!

ANSWER: This is called a spool bed or bobbin turned bed.  made around 1860/70.  you can see the wood piece under the spindles which is tiger maple.  on that and past experience i would say that this bed was maple, cherry or both.

Even with the age, these were manufactured by one of the 4000 factories operating and turning out trainloads of furniture at that time.  Lumber was sent and shipped all over.  many of the factories were close to rail heads and close to rivers for transport and for power.

you should have someone sympathetic to good antique furniture to repair the rail.  do you have the piece that came off the side rail?
where are you located, i may know someone in the area.

could you use the followup function and post a picture of the footboard please.

do not use oils on this bed any more.  now is the time to use only paste wax for wood.  johnsons floor paste wax would be an excellent choice as it contain no mineral or silicone oils.  if it is good enough to use on museum collections it is good enough for me.

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

QUESTION: Per your request, I am sending a picture of the foot board...but because I don't know which is the foot board and which is the headboard, you are getting pics of both, grin.

I will purchase paste wax per your instructions...but this bed hasn't been cleaned for over 60 years.  Before I use paste wax, may I clean it?  If so, a mild soap and water?  or something else?  Please advise.

I am now in Green Bay, WI.  If you do know of anyone in WI who you would trust/recommend to do the repair of the rail, I would appreciate the contact information.

Thanks again for your consideration and for taking the time to guide me!


the wax will do the cleaning, it should take about two hours for each piece, head and foot.

if you wish to wipe it down first to clear loose dust and dirt, a damp rag will work.  keep rinsing the rag as you proceed.  damp not wet.  or just wax.

let me check to see who i know in the area.  i know who not to use but will only say on an open forum.  by private email only.

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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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