|The Completed Table|
A table we recently worked on in the shop was a mahogany drop leaf table made around 1770. I beileve that this table was made in England because of its form, which was a rather small version of a drop leaf that was used as an occasional table, in the same way in which a tilt top table was used. When needed, say for serving tea, the table could be carried to a location and set up, giving a good surface for three or four people. after the table served its purpose, the leaves could then be dropped, significantly reducing the floor space that the table took up. The table could then be set against a wall where the grain of the vertically hanging leaf could be admired.This is also important because mahogany furniture was seen in the 18th century as a status symbol, and the ability to display the wood was desirable.
The woods used in this table are fine West Indies mahogany as the primary wood, with pine and beech used a secondary woods. Mahogany would have been imported to England and America both, and beech and pine were both used as secondary woods in America and England. The reason that I think this table is English is that the form of this smaller drop leaf is seen much more in English Furniture than Colonial American. The Americans favored the tilt top as an occasional table And I have never seen an example of a small drop leaf like this made in America. That being said, that is all I have to go on and the woods used and joinery techniques offer no clues as to a place of manufacture. If the table could be identified as American the date of manufacture might be slightly later. As it stands, I call this table Georgian because it was made during the second half of the 18th century and while it displays a turned Queen Anne foot, the use of mahogany instead of walnut placed it at a latter date, placing it in the Georgian period of furniture history.
The table had a nice old finish on it that was restorable, and most of the problems lay in some structural failures that had occurred in its 200+ year history. One of the most noticeable was a failed hinge, which caused the leaf to hang crooked. I have detailed the repairs and restoration of the table in the photos below. They are followed by a few photos of the restored table.