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Antiques Considered - December 11, 2013

A couple from Richmond inherited this Queen Anne tilttop table.  The wood is walnut, and the top has a split across the center.  Unfortunately, the previous owner had the piece refinished, and applied bar-top varnish, thereby making it “glow in the dark.”  They ask if they should have it re-refinished to eliminate the sheen.

In 14 years of writing this column we ahve the first inquiry about bar-top varnish.  To begin by answering the question, yes, definitely have the top refinished.  Bar-top varnish only should be used for bar tops.  This table is a nice example of the Queen Anne style, and deserves being brought back to a more appropriate condition.

The table dates from the early nineteenth century, and shows a simple design of the style.  The column shows good turning, and the traditional feet, although plainly carved, are in keeping with the overall appearance.

The top should be stripped of all of its finish, the split corrected, and a simple matte finish applied.  The table is thicker than most of this type, and the tilting latch should be examined to see if it is the original one.  If not, it too should be replaced with a correct form of reproduction.

As is, the table is worth $200, but is well worth the expense of restoration.  The color of the wood gives the appearance of it having been bleached, indicating that the refinishing process possibly should include applying a stain to return it to its original color.  The best guide in that process would be to bring the top to the color of the underside, which probably has not been affected by the previous restoration.

Tilttop tables remain popular, and usually command good prices.  This one deserves a better presence as the “bones” are good.
           
Happy Antiquing!

Henry Lane Hull
Commonwealth Antiques & Appraisals, Inc.
P.O. Box 35
Wicomico Church, VA 22579
Cell:  804.580.0514
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www.commonwealthantiques.com

 

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