Dating roll top desk

The roll top desk shows an incredible secretary desk attachment which is both used practically for writing and locking the drawers along the tower-like legs of the desk shut when fastened in place.

underneath is a larger compartment for storage with two doors which swing outwards.

This is an excellent Eastlake style walnut burl cylinder roll top desk dating to the 19th Century.

The 1800’s roll top desk shows a fantastic cylinder design and high craftsmanship with excellent walnut hardwood and walnut burl veneer.

This lavishly hand-carved cabinet from about 1890 shows structural dovetail joints on the back side.

Genuine hand made dovetails like these were the standard of good furniture craftsmanship until about 1870, when American ingenuity developed the “pin and cove” or round style dovetail, often seen on late Victorian and Eastlake furniture.

A close inspection shows no irregular saw cuts or variation from a skilled craftsman, but rather a precise and identical manufactured machined joint.

A little glue cements the connection, and a good dovetail joint has great strength and durability.

This secretary desk from about 1780 was built by a good country carpenter, notice the dovetails on the side of the drawer, and holding the top and side planks together as well.

These were cut with a jig or pattern, and an apprentice could create a very well fitting and attractive joint. European cabinetmakers continued their hand-cut dovetails well into the 1900's.

Popular here into the 1890's, these joints never gained acceptance outside of the U. The next technological development in joinery was again American.

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