A real c.1780 Pennsylvania slant top desk

I was lucky enough to win a c.1780 stained maple desk from Skinner a couple of weeks ago. I had the desk shipped UPS Freight and, despite the best efforts of the truck driver who rolled the box end over end up to my porch, it it arrived undamaged on Friday. I couldn't be happier to own a legitimate piece of American history.

My desk in my library. That chair is an early 19th century Windsor which I re-seated.
This piece exhibits showcases many characteristics of typical period work. The joinery on the case bottom, even accounting for wood shrinkage, would not pass muster in most shops today. 

The case bottom. Missing one glue block.

Get the truck boys, plenty of room here.

This side is slightly better but still plenty of "errors" in the work.

The slant lid shows significant tearout that has been there for 230 years without people worrying about it.

Oh no! Tearout!!

The case is 42-in high, so you can see how wide the backboards are.

Overall, it just has the right feel for the time period, which is exactly what I try to replicate in the pieces of furniture I make. It clearly has had some repairs which I will document as well, but overall it is a very nice piece.This will be of great use to me in my home, and will be an outstanding reference piece for my furniture work.

If you would like to see more, let me know. Just for kicks, I may build a copy of it, so I may make measured drawings available if there is enough interest.



  1. More photos, would be great, I'm sure we all would love to see the joinery and the gallery. Looks like a great win for you.

  2. More photos and details please. It is a very nice piece.

  3. Just go to Woodbex if you want to know how to do it yourself.