The concept of the modern chest of drawers as we know it, a case containing a series of more or less matching drawers, became a reality in the latter part of the 17th century. Of course single drawers and combinations of drawers were made earlier but appeared usually as an adjunct to the lift top or dower chest which was the most common chest type in the that century.
The most common storage facility of the era was the cupboard or court cupboard consisting of open shelves below doors which concealed more shelves. The notion of a self contained drawer unit is “new news” from late in the century. It is a five sided box that must fit perfectly within a case (a six-sided box) and be removable on demand without binding or breaking either the drawer or the case. To do so it must incorporate some type of suspension mechanism to allow it to travel in and out of the case.
The joint is then nailed either through the front or through the side. In many cases the nails are installed in cut outs in the drawer side so they do not protrude above the surface and impede the travel of the drawer. This type of joint is fairly easy to make, requiring no sophisticated tools and is still seen in typical “high school shop” type projects and in lesser quality commercial goods, especially when non-wood compositions are used in drawer construction. However, this joint had two historical problems. One, nails of the 17th century were rare and precious, being individually hand made and two, the joint wasn’t very strong. Early dovetail construction sometimes featured only one pin and it was often nailed in place.
Dovetail joints are excellent joints but they take a long time to make by hand. This machine made joint features a series of identical dovetails cut in the drawer front and side and the cuts run the entire depth of the drawer side. So what does all this tell us about the age of a piece?
It means that we have motivation to keep looking for other clues to confirm a date. Add new hardware cast from vintage originals and you have the potential for confusion. Shadow in this sense does not necessarily mean dark or black, but refers to a relative difference. In many cases, a furniture shadow is lighter, not darker, than a surrounding surface but is still referred to as a shadow. Wood covered by a drawer pull, for example, would not be exposed to the wood smoke, grime and abrasion as the surrounding wood not covered by the pull. If the original hardware has been on the furniture for 100 years and the piece has not been refinished, the protected surface under the hardware should logically look different than surrounding unprotected surfaces. Similarly, areas subject to normal movement over many years also show shadows caused by continuous wear. Drawers are one of the best places to check for shadows because they include both hardware (pulls) and movement (sliding in and out). The material of which draw hardware is made – metal, wood, glass, ceramic – has little effect on the creation of the shadow. Any reasonably solid material will create a shadow. Generally, drawers in the original finish made before ca. Usually, but not always, the older a piece, the more obvious the shadows. Of course genuinely old pieces can be refinished and original hardware may be replaced with identically shaped new hardware. Shadows should be only one part of your examination. Always use a variety of tests to determine age and authenticity. Many new drawer pulls, like those shown in the catalog page above, are cast directly from old originals. When the pull is removed from the plate, the protected areas under the posts (black arrows) are lighter in color. The parts of the posts passing through the drawer were also protected and are a lighter color. However, the part of the pull that touched by the hand to open the drawer is a lighter color. Patina does not have a chance to develop where hands are continually touching the pull to open the drawer. This is the correct and logical pattern of a proper wear shadow.
Antique 3 Drawer Sliding Door Chest
Inside of vintage chest frame with drawer removed. Even if multiple drawers from the same chest are identical sizes, slight differences in wear patterns will match each drawer to its correct opening. The original finish protected under the pull is much lighter than the unprotected surrounding original finish. This natural difference in protected and unprotected surfaces is very hard to fake. Note also that the holes which have been in contact with the brass pull posts are darkened. The original finish surrounding the pull is so darkened the wood species is almost unrecognizable. A dramatic difference between the protected and unprotected original surfaces. The surrounding wood has oxidized to a much darker color than the area protected under the pull. Obviously not the original pull that created the shadow. This pull is distinctly smaller than the shadow in the finish. Comparing shadows can help you catch genuinely old, but not original, replacement hardware. The dresser has six drawers and a fun sliding door for storage space. The hand distressed and wire brushed finish is perfectly paired with dark knob hardware and iron accents. This is a great way to give an old dresser new life, especially if you plan on using it a lot and have been frustrated with sticky or sagging drawers. Because most of them had wood drawer slides, over time and with different environments, the wood would wear down. Most people who fell in love with an older piece accepted this as the ‘character’ of older dressers. But for those who love the look of vintage dressers but love the functionality of new dressers, this tutorial will help you achieve that!
In my opinion the best type of drawer slide to install and use is metal ball-bearing drawer slides. They are more durable and easier to install, making their higher price point well-worth it.
Check the drawers for the first sign of age on
Use a circular saw to cut off the sides from the drawer face. Cut off tenons from drawer sides and discard the drawer back. Cut the 1/2″ plywood to that same height and 2″ less than the length of the drawer face.
You also will be attaching the new 1/2″ plywood between the two drawer sides (which are 1/2″ thick), so you have to subtract their thickness as well from the total length of the plywood front and back (hence 2″). Pre-drill and screw into place the new plywood drawer front into the back of the drawer face. Slide the drawer bottom back into place (into the routed grooves on the side pieces) and nail into the front and back using 1″ nails. Attach them using 1 1/2″ wood screws into (pre-drilled holes– important to always pre-drill holes into old wood so it doesn’t split).
You may need to use some wood shims (from scrap 2×4) to get the board to be the right thickness. The clearance on each side of the drawer can only be 1/2″ for the metal drawer slides to fit and work properly. So, you need the wood on each side to be the right thickness so the attached metal slide sticks out far enough. Slide into place the part of the slide that goes on the actual drawer.
Mark the height and depth of that part of the slide from the opening and make corresponding marks on the outside of each drawer side. Attach the part of the slide that goes on the drawer and test fit it into the drawer opening. It is normal to have to make some adjustments. The slides need to be level and straight (on both the outside of the drawer and the inside of the dresser and they both have to be positioned the same depth on both sides in order for the drawers to slide in and out smoothly. It made me dizzy and did not provide enough time to read the instructions.
I will consider adding a pic collage as well.
So, the images just provide a reference for what it looks like.
I think it’s a great idea, and would work well. It’s just that currently, you’ve got the rotation set to go waaaaaaaay too fast. For somebody who hasn’t seen this project before, doesn’t know what’s going on, and doesn’t know how to do this, there’s just no time to process what they’re even seeing. Also, would you consider text on collage as well?
Make room to exercise in front of your television or create extra play space for children by easily moving the table out of the way and putting it back when you're finished. With reclining furniture it allows space to recline when you need it. If you frequently snack or dine in your living room, set your food and drink on the table and pull it closer to you to reduce spills. Make the most of your living space by taking advantage of this item's easy mobility. Perfect for displaying pictures and storing anything you need to put away, the fifteen numbered drawers in this console will allow you to easily stow away anything from photo albums to your movie collection. Casters on the bottom of the piece allow for easy movement of the piece. The rustic weathered look of the piece gives it a lived in charm that will make the perfect finishing touch to your home. In addition to buying it online, it can be purchased at a retail store if you provide a sales associate with the item #204401.
Did you scroll all this way to get facts about antique drawers ?
The most common antique drawers material is wood.