One of the most recent pieces to be restored in my shop is a quarter sawn oak buffet from around 1900. Before getting into the photos, a couple of notes on terminology!
Quarter Sawn- When I refer to quartersawn lumber that means that the log was sawn into quarters. If you imagine the end of a log, the circle would divided up into four quarters, rather than sawing it into horizontal boards from the top down. subsequent cuts are made in a similar fashion so that the long face of each board is a radius of that original circle. The reasons for this are two fold. First, the growth rings on the end of each of those boards is basically going straight up and down. This means that the board is more stable and less likely to cup or twist or whatever. Second is the fact that in all woods this method of cutting wood exposes sections of the wood containing what are called medullary rays. These rays are often small and somewhat inconsequential to most people, but in certain woods they are quite pronounced. One such wood is Oak. If you take a look at the second photo down you will see lighter wide bands passing somewhat diagonally across the grain of the board. These are the medullary rays or simply rays. This type of cut was used extensively in America in and around the turn of the 20th century. Two period styles that employed the use of this wood are the "Golden Oak" period and the "Arts and Crafts" period, of which Mission furniture is a part. With the decline of Walnut use in the latter part of the 19th century, Quarter Sawn Oak quickly became the wood of choice in factory made furniture in America.
Buffet- What is a buffet? When is a piece a buffet and when is it a sideboard or server? The term buffet is a french word used to describe servers and the form was brought to refinement in 18th century France. The term is synonymous with sideboard. So why did I call this a buffet and not a sideboard? Typically, I use the term sideboard when referring to larger items and something about this piece just says "buffet". It can easily and correctly be called either. Just to back up my claim, The 1897 Sears & Roebuck catalog refers to similar pieces in oak as Buffets (and sideboards). One other note from the catalog, A similar piece new at the time would set you back between $14.00 to $24.50. I guess there has been a little bit of inflation between then and now!
This buffet had some damage to the drawers and doors
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