We recently ran into a remarkable old chest at an estate sale. I fell in love with it immediately for the birdseye figure of the panels. At the time I thought it was a nice older veneered piece only to find out once we brought it home that it was not veneer but solid birdseye pine planks. I’ve only seen birdseye pine once before, in a restored lobby of an old east Texas hotel. The entire lobby & stairwell were built from highly figured longleaf pine. The story is that the carpenter who built it around the turn of the century went into the east Texas piney woods and chose the trees that would be made into the lumber for the project. I sure wish I could remember just what town it’s in but that was around 20 years ago and the location eludes me now – any LJ’ers have a clue? I would sure like to know.
Also, are there any experts out there in figuring the age of work like this? My best guess is that it was built as a one-off project by a journeyman cabinet maker in the 1920’s or 1930’s, most likely from somewhere in east Texas. I would also like to know more about just how uncommon and rare figured pine like this was back then – my sense is that wood like this was very rare and hard-to-find and may well have been an individual cabinetmaker’s personal stash. Incidentally, the chest sits on wooden wheel rollers and we even have the original key for the latch.
Here is a picture of the front panel (at this point the lid and bottom have been removed):
This is a shot of the chest after a little work on the exterior.
Here is a picture of the inside of the carcass showing the unfinished side of the pine planks:
At any rate, this chest has some remarkable figure in the wood. The old lining was very stained and worn fabric so I decided to replace that lining with some aromatic Eastern Red-cedar. Couldn’t be happier with the results.
-- Most men pursue pleasure with such breathless haste that they hurry past it. -Soren Kierkegaard