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  1. #1
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    Default Old drawers 1800's?

    I happened across these drawers by mistake and for the price could leave them. Now I want to learn and protect them.
    I thought they were red cedar but now I wonder if mahogany. I would like to learn about every aspect from the drawer know inserts to the required finish.
    Putting a date to them would be appreciated.

    20201120_180210.jpg20201120_180154.jpg20201120_174400.jpg20201120_180122.jpg20201120_180222.jpg20201120_180412.jpg

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  3. #2
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    Default

    Looks more like mahogany to me. 19th century, probably somewhere in the 1850's to 60's. The knob inserts look more like bone than ivory.

    At this point in time, Victorian era furniture is cheaper than Ikea. The top price I would pay at the moment (based on what I can see) is around $400; give or take.

    Victorian era mahogany furniture is probably worth more broken down as timber at this point; not that I am suggesting you do that! You probably can't buy a Mahogany board the width of that first board on the top any more.

    I have a Victorian dining table (1850-ish) that has two single boards that are in excess of 500mm wide and over 1200mm long. The table is probably only valued at around $1500 (absolute maximum) in the present market. Show me a set of mahogany boards like that and you will probably pay more for them, assuming you can find them. I paid $4200 for the table at auction in the early 90's. At that time, the general markup from auction to antique store was around 300% based on my observation of items I saw at auction and then resold in antique stores in Woollahra.

    Fashions change and Victorian era furniture may come back again. I don't really care one way or another. The table means more to me than dollars. The value is the memory of all the beautiful meals with family and friends we have hosted across this table; and my beautiful daughter has expressed an interest in having it, when that time comes.

  4. #3
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    Default

    Thank you that was very informative and relevant to me.
    Bone makes sense to me.
    I'm very interested to understand what pricing did and why. Was it introduction of machinery?
    I have a mahogany table broken down and was keeping the boards until I had a decent use.
    I was astounded to find a similar set of drawers (2 streets away from where I picked these up) in the antique store for $2750. I think you are right on the money with the 300% mark up but maybe 400% in Brisbane

  5. #4
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    Feb 2008
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    Canberra
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    Mark is spot on.
    The boards (whether they are Mahogany or Cedar) are probably worth more than the whole piece as it stands.
    It's a shame, but it hasn't always been this way and will change again.

    Having said that, I think it's beautiful and useful.
    I'd restore it and use it.

    I've seen a lot of Mahogany and a lot of Cedar, and to this day some boards and figure can look identical to me.
    The weight is what generally gives it away. Mahogany is heavier.

  6. #5
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    May 2007
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    Those knob inserts would be Mother of Pearl . Yeah the chest looks to be Mahogany .

    When it gets hard to tell the difference the Medullary rays are the way to definitely tell the difference between Red Cedar and Mahogany . You pick a face cut section and inspect the very fine ends of the medullary rays . In Mahogany they grow in rows that sort of look like fine fiddleback , in Cedar they are spread out random . When needed Itís worked every time for me since I learned that .

    This method to distinguish was told to me by Jugo Ilic who was the Wood ID guy at Melbourne CSIRO . You used to be able to take wood samples to him in the 80s and he would ID them . I think there was a fee ? Canít remember that now . He said he was writing a book back then on wood ID . Be interested to see that if it happened .

    I just did a search on Him and came back to edit my misspelling of his name .

    Interesting Link on Him .

    Jugo Ilic - Australian Wood Review

    Rob

  7. #6
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    If looking for the Medullary rays look in the red circled parts. A 10X eye magnifier helps . I used to be able to see such things without an aid pre 40s . Not any more.

    20201120_180122.jpg

  8. #7
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    Mother of pearl is a bit more translucent looking than Bone. Bone is solid white from what Ive seen . It has a fine grain which Ivory does not have . The grain in bone is pretty hard to see . Maybe some type of dye would show it up ? Bone is lovely stuff to work with . I just did some knobs this week using cow bone I prepared ages ago . I go to my bone stash in that box when I need a bit .
    Attached Images Attached Images

  9. #8
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    The carcass of the drawers feel like red cedar in weight but the front is much heavier so I'm really leaning to mahogany.
    Wife has seen it and asked where is mine as she needs our drawers to be matching.
    Looks like the 70's silky oak drawers are moving out to make space

  10. #9
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    I certainly have a lot to learn. I do have some old large pieces of red cedar and 2 large planks of mahogany (ex table top) that I will also bring out to compare. Local wood dealer mentioned red mahogany which shows how little I know. I think I will be visiting old friend who has shown me so much with woods as the internet pictures make this challenging.

    Lobe your work. I have so many pieces needing replacement turned pieces that I'm beginning to think I need to learn to do some basic wood turning.

  11. #10
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    Auscab, I really like your stash of bones !!!

    Judging by the pics, the bone insert in the knobs would be 10-12mm in diameter at a guess? I am curious to know which bone of a cow was used to get the rod(s) used to turn the inserts.

    The contract between the colours of the bone and the wood really add to the elegance of the knobs.

    Thanks for the great pics!

    Cheers Yvan

  12. #11
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by yvan View Post
    Auscab, I really like your stash of bones !!!

    Judging by the pics, the bone insert in the knobs would be 10-12mm in diameter at a guess? I am curious to know which bone of a cow was used to get the rod(s) used to turn the inserts.

    The contract between the colours of the bone and the wood really add to the elegance of the knobs.

    Thanks for the great pics!

    Cheers Yvan

    Yeah Yvan they came out well in the Walnut . The contrast was a little better when they were wet in those pictures .
    They were 12.7mm or 1/2 inch .
    The bone came from that box and was already sanded into two flat 2 or 2.5mm thick sheets for some escutcheons I was doing months ago . I was in a hurry so used them instead of cutting and sanding more stuff down .

    I cut out 15 x 15 mm squares and poly glued them onto the ends of that 1/2" dowel . Then I took that to the belt sander and made them roughly close to the 1/2" size , after that I fitted the dowel into a Jacobs type chuck that fits my wood lathe and turned then to 12.7 mm with a slight taper to the front .

    Then as each Walnut knob was turned a recess for the bone was made in its end and as soon as it fitted I glued each bone in and started the next .


    The Bone I use is the Femur . I Just looked it up . I started with ones from the butcher when I was in the city but now I get to select from whole Skeletons occasionally. The poor things sometimes die and Ive had to drag them by chain up the far end of the farm .

    The bone prep is very important . Here is a great link describing what to do .

    Cleaning Bone for Use in Lutherie

    Think Ill go do a thread in the turning section with more pictures on this .

    Rob

  13. #12
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    Just an update the top ended up being sanded to show the burnt area wasn't bad at all. I'm progressing with shellac and will just take my time with many thin layers. As it's just not about me this has to be acceptable to my wife and I'm confident it will be. Finding key hole brass escutcheons will probably be a long time pain but that does concern her. I still have to acquire some repair material for the top at the front where some is missing. With the thickness of it I don't know if this is called veneer.

    Thank you for checking this out and thank you to those with the educational helpful comments it's really appreciated.

    First 3 photos (sorry if the colours seem different but the 3rd is more accurate to my eyes) are sanded and last one is beginning layers of shellac.

    20201128_102931.jpg20201128_102927.jpg20201128_102717.jpg 20201128_105713.jpg
    Attached Images Attached Images

  14. #13
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    melbourne
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    "Finding key hole brass escutcheons will probably be a long time pain but that does concern her."

    You should be able to get them at this place in Melbourne.

    http://www.gbrownantiques.com.au/pdfs/Hardware%20Catalog.pdf

    CABINET MAKERS SUPPLIERS
    GRAEME BROWN ANTIQUES
    591 593 & 597 Malvern Road ,Toorak,Victoria, Australia ,3142 ACN 005 153 873 ABN 11227 096 453
    Email : [email protected]
    Web : Graeme Brown Antiques
    International Phone: +613 9827 6303 International Fax : +613 9824 2778
    Established 1957




  15. #14
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    Nov 2004
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    Default

    If you are after a finish with a smooth glossy finish, you are going to need to grain fill. Mahogany is fairly open grained, as you can see.

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