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Sunday, November 7, 2010

American Cherry Queen Anne Tilt Top Table (ca. 1760)

A piece I recently worked on in the shop was an American Cherry Tilt Top or Tip and Turn Table. The name Tip and Turn refers to the table top's ability to rotate similar to a Lazy Susan. This adaptation of the Tilt Top table was developed in England in the mid 18th Century. When women would take tea they would sit around these tables wearing their elaborate and bulky dresses so rather than getting up to hand each other items, or reaching across the table, they could simply rotate the table top. To see an image of this you can follow this link:


The top is rotated with the use of a pivot point which extends from the top of the pedestal (in fact it is part of the pedestal). Fit over this pivot turning is a box created out of two boards separate by four turned columns. This box is called a Bird Cage. On the top of the bird cage are round tenons which go into the battens that hold the top in place. These round tenons allow the top to tilt. This table is interesting in a couple of ways. First, the pivot point on the top of the pedestal is conical in shape which is something I have not seen before. With more research, this might point to a place of manufacture. The other aspect that I like is that the small column turnings in the bird cage are turned to resemble the major pedestal turning. This is an idea I used in the making of my own Tip and Turn table and I like it for it's repetition.

I did very little to this table. It was missing it's key (the wedge that holds the top to the pedestal) and it had a few repairs which I will document below. The finish on this table is a modern lacquer but was in pretty good shape, so the repairs were all that was necessary.

These first two photos show the table as it came to me.

This photo shows the Bird Cage. The center column is attached to the pedestal below.
The top of the Bird Cage had suffered some damage from the top being tilted with the catch thrown.
Here is the Bird Cage being glued up.
The Birdcage is fastened to the pedestal using a wedge shaped key. the original was missing, so I made a new one using Cherry.
Here is the key fit into the birdcage before it was stained.
The pivot point on the pedestal had suffered some damage in the past and was patched. The patch had fallen out, but the customer had most of it. Here is a photo of the point with the patch.
First, I cleaned the old glue off of the patch and glued it back in place.
After sanding the patch and patching missing portions, I touched-up the pedestal. The finished product can be seen below.
this photo shows the key finished and inserted.
These last two photos show the table completed

If anyone reading this post is absolutely in love with this table, There is a very similar table in Walnut currently on sale on Ebay out of Germantown, Maryland. Here is a link to the auction:



  1. Your article has given me a great contrast to all the mahogany chippendale tilt-top tables. I am an MA Conservation student and I am doing an assignment on these tables, and how they acted as a household item in the 18th century. do you have any suggestions for readings for me?

  2. Wow…outstanding service and products to meet our office needs. I Love all and the colors you choose are perfect. I want this furniture for my new house. Thanks a lot for sharing
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