Thursday, August 29, 2019

Another Oak Dresser with Provenance

    I saw this piece advertised on a local sales list.  I was pretty sure it was a diamond in the rough.  When I arrived to buy it, I could see it was very rough.  Structurally it was wonderful and sound, but the finish was another matter.  At some point someone had painted it yellow and also added a top finish that crackled terribly.  I am sure that was not the intention of the person who did it, but quite frankly it was horrible. 
    The couple that owned it explained that it had belonged to a Grandfather  of the young woman and, didn't know who had it before that.  They said they had plenty of furniture and didn't need it.  I thought that was quite sad, since it was probably better than any other piece they probably had. 
    This dresser should have had a harp which is a decorative piece of wood with arms that hold the mirror up.  This was gone and they were using two pieces of wood to hold the mirror up.  I am surprised it didn't break, as this mirror is very heavy. 
    It took weeks before I had time to work on the dresser and even more weeks to complete it.  Removing the old finish and paint was very slow going.  If you don't work carefully you run the risk of doing a lot of damage to the wood.  Both sanding and stripping had to be done carefully to prevent damage.  There are some areas that still show bits of the yellow paint because any further striping or sanding I felt would damage the wood.
    I added an oil finish that helped condition and add the proper color back to the wood.  Our weather was so humid for so long it was necessary to allow that to dry for a very long time before I added shellac.
    I have added some screw eyes to the back of the mirror and recommend that it be wall mounted. 
During the process of refinishing the piece, I found what I believe to be the signature of a former owner on one of the boards on the bottom, under the lowest drawer.  It says "Chester Edgerton
Underhill, Ohio June 27, 1904.  It is written in beautiful script that is hard to get a good picture of.
    When I still had my Ancestry membership, I looked Chester up.  I believe I found him.  He would have been in his 30's in 1904 and he was a farmer in Underhill, Ohio.  This dresser was probably made sometime between 1880 and 1904. 
    The measurements on this dresser are 41 inches across the front, 18 1/2 inches deep and 33 inches tall and is available

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