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Thursday, December 6, 2012

Cedar Lawn: Late Classical Mahogany Game Table (ca. 1830)

Shortly Before Thanksgiving, I completed the restoration of several pieces for a historic home in Jefferson County, West Virginia called Cedar Lawn. All post that I write concerning the furniture restored for this estate will have "Cedar Lawn" written in the title. Cedar Lawn was built in 1825 for John Thornton Augustine Washington, the grand nephew of George Washington. Here are two links to Wikipedia, one about Cedar Lawn and the other about John Washington.



The current owners of the house have recently completed the restoration of the home, of which restoring the furniture was a part. Here is a link to the website that chronicles the restoration of the property:


I will be writing several posts about the fantastic furniture that I had the pleassure of working on. While the provenance of the pieces is hard to trace and none can be proven to be original to the estate, many of the pieces dated to the general time period of the house's construction and were in keeping with the architectural style of the house.

the first piece I will be writing about is a Late Classical, or American Empire game table. I have to say that in all of my time working on furniture that this style of game table is the most appealing to me and of all of the Late Classical game tables that I have worked on, that this is one of the nicest examples.

This style of furniture is often referred to as "Pillar and Scroll" furniture and one can see why when you look at this piece. The column or "pillar" sits atop a base which terminates in a scroll foot, in this case with applied turned volute appliques. The bottom of the pillar is surrounded by a well carved wreath. As we move up the table the apron is shaped in a well proportioned ogee profile and the top is veneered with a beautiful piece of crotch Mahogany. When the table is opened the top surfaces are book matched and are made from ribbon Mahogany veneer. All of the veneers and and solid carved parts on this table were made from tight grained Cuban Mahogany. The secondary wood used in this piece was pine, possibly pointing toward northern manufacture. For a look at an earlier post I wrote on Pillar and Scroll furniture and its history you can follow this link:


The table had lots of loose veneer and a broken foot. It also had a lot of separation on the finish so  I decided to remove the finish, make the repairs, and refinish the table with a French Polish. These first few photos show the table in the condition that it came to my shop. The close up photos show some of the separation of the old finish.

This photo shows some of the veneer loss on the base.
After the finish was removed, I set about repairing the table. A large section of the apron was loose and needed to be glued in place.

Some additional damage was that one of the tables feet had broken off of the table and had been poorly repaired in the past. These photos show the old repair undone and the foot separated from the base.

In this next photo, The apron is being glued back in place. The next two photos show some creative clamping on the foot to glue it back in place.

After those repairs were made, loose veneer and patches were glued in place as seen in the photo below.
There was one veneer bubble that needed to be glued down on the top. This photo shows that work being done.
The next two photos show the tops and base during the refinishing process.

The following series of photos shows the restoration completed. The photos show the top open and closed and also the table from a few different angles.

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