What has 6 sides, 28 joints and is red all over?
My latest antique purchase!
Mr. Upscale and I enjoy a good mystery whether it’s a movie plot or an antique so we purchased this six board chest at the auction house on Sunday. I loved it for its milky red paint and he for its dovetailed joints. We hauled it home and started to clean it and discover some of its mysteries.
Case in point: Notice the different types of woods between the chest and the trim.
The trim is oak and the chest is pine. This means that the trim was probably added at a later date. Sometimes the maker did use different types of wood on the same piece but these two just don’t look like they go together at all. Different types of woods would be used because people used what they had on hand and also because they planned on painting the piece. Most likely it was someone’s effort to restore it. We believe it had trim originally and here’s how we know for sure. We removed the nasty oak trim and found this underneath.
Notice the nail holes. There are small ones where the oak was nailed in and there are larger ones which means there was another type of trim on the chest. It was most likely made of pine like the rest of the piece. Now that the trim has been removed another question has to be asked…Is that red paint that I love original? What do you think? Are you a furniture detective, too? I don’t believe that the red paint is original because of the gray look of the boards underneath. It could have been painted red with the trim on and then this top piece would still have a gray border but this picture of the back leads me to believe it was originally gray.
The back of the chest has no red paint on it at all but can you see the traces of gray in the picture above? I do believe the red paint is quite old just because of it’s lovely worn and milky patina.
Even though this six board chest is missing some of its original elements, like it’s original trim, paint and hinges it’s a lovely example of 19th century handmade furniture. It’s called a six board chest because it is made of six individual boards and there was no joining of wood to make wider pieces. Think about how big those trees had to be to harvest wood that wide.
Now it sits in my living room as my coffee table and I will thoroughly enjoy it in all its handmade glory. If you’d like to see more examples of antique chests, I found this Pinterest Board called Trunks, Chests. It’s definitely eye candy for the antique chest lover! I also found this example of a blue six board chest that is earlier than this one but with all its original parts.
Uncertainty and mystery are the energies of life. Don’t let them scare you unduly, for they keep boredom at bay and spark creativity.
R. I. Fitzhenry
Do you love a good mystery?