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Antiques Considered - December 7, 2011

This table is in the utility room of a family’s Northern Neck home.  They are debating whether it is worth restoring, given its poor condition.  In addition to the paint peeling off, the result of its long service as the winter repository for houseplants, the top has a separation between the two boards.  Various family members have owned the table for nearly a century, and the present owners have sentimental bonds to it.   They think the wood is maple.


The table obviously needs considerable restoration and refinishing.  It appears to date from the early twentieth century, when such pieces often were made of maple.  The legs show a Sheraton influence, which indicates that it could be earlier, but that can be determined only after the legs and apron are stripped of the layers of paint.  Frequently when tops wore out, new ones were installed without regard to what wood the base was, which causes me to wonder whether the base could be walnut or cherry.

The present value of the table is low, given its condition, but it is probably of sufficient worth to merit the cost of restoration.  If undertaken as a weekend backyard project, the only expense would be the paint remover and the brushes, at least as far as getting it prepared for final restoration.  Repairing the top could be more extensive, particularly if either of the boards has warped since the separation began.

 As is, the table is worth $75, but restored it would be worth $325.  It has good lines and the base looks to be sturdy.  I suspect that originally it was a dining room table, then a kitchen one, and finally it would up in its current utility room phase.  Brought back it could return to a dining room presence, but I caution to get an estimate before engaging a restorer to work on it.  These jobs can become far more costly than one initially might surmise.

Happy Antiquing!

Lisa and Henry Hull operate Commonwealth Antiques and Appraisals, Inc. at 5150 Jessie DuPont Hwy., 22570 (P. O. Box 35). Wicomico Church, Va. 22570. Write to them or email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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