Well, here we are and nearly two years later. I am happy to announce that the 100+ year-old dresser that I’ve been working on is now officially done. I had some time just before the start of spring and was able to get the remaining painting done on the body of the dresser. As you may recall, the drawers have actually been done for quite some time, though I held off on adding the new drawer pulls until the entire piece was done. They’ve just been waiting for a place to hang out (as in, in the dresser). Being a very old piece of furniture, I was hoping to update it…color and strength-wise, while still keeping with its historic roots. It will always be an old dresser, so the drawers won’t glide as smoothly as dressers with more complicated drawer tracks. I am beyond pleased with the results (and actually love seeing it all back together). I’m hoping to get it posted on Craigslist, so it can find a new ‘forever’ home.
I realize that I haven’t shared much on what a true historical wonder this particular chest of drawers is, so batten down the hatches for a little furniture construction history lesson. Since I work with primarily wood furniture, I always keep an eye out for good construction. In furniture with drawers, that usually is seen in the form of dovetailed drawer joints. When I first acquired this particular piece, I noticed that the drawer joints were incredibly different. Thanks to the wide variety of ‘stuff’ on the internet, I was able to learn that this type of drawer joint goes by many names: Pin & Crescent, Pin & Cove, Pin & Scallop, Half Moon, and Knapp Joint. The word ‘pin’ is also interchangeable with the word ‘dowel’. This unique drawer joint started the Industrial Revolution for furniture and replaced hand cut dovetails. Handmade dovetailed drawers were very labor intensive and limited mass production of furniture chests. The Knapp Joint (invented by Charles B. Knapp; patented in 1867) is the first known mechanization for making drawers during the Industrial Revolution Age. By 1871, there was a Knapp Dovetailing Company. The presence of this type of drawer joints dates furniture construction to the specific period of 1871-1900. The Knapp Joint fell into lack of use by 1900. With that being said, my recently completed dresser is at least 115 years-old.
Needless to say, definitely a piece of history.