Sunday, June 19, 2011

Can You Put a Date on this Birdseye Maple Veneer Desk?

I could use your help.  Can you put a date on this birdseye maple veneer desk?   I got it at auction last weekend ($100).  I don't have a clue other than I really like it.  And that's what really counts, right?
 The drawers are solid wood, and dove tail joints.
The photo above is the best indication of the actual color.

 Nothing broken.  Some scratches and wear here and there. 
The desk is sitting in the summer kitchen (east porch entrance) for now.  I gave it to Jon for father's day.  This will be a good place for his paperwork.

This afternoon, I took some time to clean it with Danish oil and photograph it.


  1. wow how beautiful, great buy and what a wonderful gift!

  2. Ha there. What a nice desk. Very unusual in Maple, usually walnut. I have been doing Antique stuff for many years. and this style of desk is Eastlake. Late 1800's, early 1900's. It was named after a cabinet maker from Europe who was brought to American to make furniture and his style was copied. It is known as the last antiques, cause after this period most things were machine and mass made. Some of these were as well. A lot were made in Grand Rapids,Michigan. I bet you're desk had a top on it and was a secretary. I would say I am 99.9 percent right about that. It was probably a special order, for some one, who like Maple, instead of walnut. Looks like it has been refinished and is in good shape. I think you got a good price on it, but, this market is not good right now. The fact that it is maple, helps it some and hurts it to others. Just a little more rare. I hope this helps. Richard at My Old Historic House.

  3. You certainly got a beautiful piece of furniture at an excellent price.

    I'm not an expert in furniture, but I believe you have a late Renaissance Revival desk. Renaissance Revival can be very ornate and look like something that was actually made in the Renaissance.

    But there are simpler versions of Renaissance Revival that are easily recognized by panels of contrasting wood, and contrasting knobs or handles.

    My guess is that your desk, which is in extraordinary condition, dates between 1875-1885.

  4. I was going to concede to Mr. Cottrell, but did a little further research on Eastlake and Renaissance Revival. It turns out that we might be talking about the same thing. According to the Google search I did, Eastlake is either the same style as Renaissance Revival, or grew out of Renaissance Revival as a simpler version.

    Call it what you will, it's a beautiful desk!

  5. Hi Ann, thanks for stopping by my website. I'll drop by yours soon and leave a message.

    Mark and Richard, thanks for identifying the desk style. I appreciate you fellows--you took the time to write and teach me. It is splendid to know the desk is an antique. Very happy to hear that.

    By the way, I love your websites. And I promise I'll take some time to stop by your websites and leave some comments. I thought I'd have time on my hands when I retired--boy was I wrong.

    Richard, yes it appears there may have been a top to the desk. I see several peg holes. Also, there is a triangle shaped strip, (lets call it a cleat for the moment). The cleat appears to be solid cut strip of Birdseye maple, rather than veneer over another wood. The strip is a bit warped and wavy. I don't know if the cleat is original to the desk because I can see it is tacked down with skinny nails, and the heads of the nails are shiney. But maybe the nails got shinier due to a restoration? I'll post another photo, so you can see the cleat.
    By the way, how to you spell cleat? Cleet? Cleat? Kleat? Kleet?

    Mrs. D

  6. I agree with Richard, the desk has many features that make it an Eastlake style piece. The wood is gorgeous. I'd date it anywhere between 1880-1910. You got a great price for it!

  7. That really is a beautiful piece. I like the two-toned look! I would have said Eastlake as well, as Renaissance Revival is usually a bit more ornate. You have great taste! Boy, I'm behind in reading blogs lately... must be the nice weather! :-)


  8. Oh, I think I just commented using my husband's account LOL! Sorry Mrs D! :-)