This is a hand made, solid cherry chest of drawers, circa 1840-1850, that was brought into Hander Woodworking for conservation. The drawer sides, backs and bottoms were made from poplar and constructed with handmade dovetails. The bottoms were hand planed with a scrub plane and the edges were beveled, creating a raised panel which was common construction practice of the period. The drawer bottoms were nailed to the drawer backs with cut (square) nails. The bottom of each drawer had shrunk, requiring removal of the nails and relocation of the bottoms in relationship to the front grooves and drawer backs. They were, then, renailed.
The bottom edges of some of the drawer sides were worn down, preventing proper sliding, and in many cases, the wear created scraping on the drawer stops which ultimately ground grooves in the drawer bottoms. Those drawers were disassembled and the worn sides were run through the table saw, removing approximately 1/8 to 3/16 of an inch of wood which provided a flat, straight surface to glue new poplar onto.
The finish was original shellac and it was extremely dry. It had gone through a house fire years ago and suffered some heavy water damage as a result. The piece was cleaned with benzene and then using a padding surface and an amalgamator, the water damage was carefully worked out of the finish. Two layers of 2 pound cut shellac was applied and rubbed out. The piece was then french polished, waxed and buffed. The bottom pictures are of the rejuvenated, original finish that was applied over 150 years ago.