Night Stand or Work Table?

This little table was purchased by our client many years ago.  He brought it to us and asked if we could make it presentable again. It had several coats of varnish that had crackled and then paint had been applied over that crackle.  It was a mess!


These days we would call this table a night stand, but it was more than likely a work table where a lady would store sewing and embroidery sundries. The table has maple legs with a figured maple veneered drawer front and sides.  The table dates from around 1830.  You can see in the “before” picture that the right front leg is not straight but is curving inward slightly which is not uncommon for a piece of this vintage.

The table frame is held together with mortise and tenon joints that are pegged in place.  The drawer sides are dovetailed.


The figured maple on the sides the table is a 1/4 thick “veneer”.  You can see evidence of the veneer when you turn the table upside down.


The top of the table is poplar, but more than likely it had some sort of figured veneer on the top that was removed by someone in the past trying to “improve” the looks of the piece.  We installed new figured maple on the top and used a combination of dyes and stains to give it some age.


The finish on the table is seedlac resin dissolved in alcohol, which is a minimally processed shellac resin.  Seedlac produces a pleasing amber tone on maple and gives the table some “age”. In addition, we added a thin coat of asphaltum glaze to make the table just a bit dirty looking. Here is the table after all the finish work is complete.