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1830s American Single Drawer Pembroke/ Drop Leaf Table

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Posted 4 years ago


(829 items)

My house is full of antique furniture. While some pieces are exemplary quality examples, I don't keep a museum. My family and I actually use our antique dressers and sleep in our antique rope beds (updated with slats).

I have been hesitant to post the furniture because of the time it takes to remove clutter from the top, clear a drawer, etc... in order to show details. I looked today and found a couple of pieces that I can photograph easily and show some of the details that confirm age.

This particular example dates from about 1830- 1850. I like to call it a Pembroke Table, but single drawer drop leaf is just as appropriate.

I purchased it about 20 years ago in Southern VA. While location certainly doesn't indicate where it was made, I suspect that this example MAY be Southern in origin. The base wood of the piece is Walnut. Most NE pieces that I have seen from this era are made of mahogany.

The drawer has a beautiful and original glass pull.

The drawer side shows obvious signs of being hand dovetailed, with a guide line and uneven dovetails (photo #2).

Additionally, the drawer bottom is chamfered (photo #3). Chamfered drawers are always a key indicator (for me) when looking at antique furniture.

If I am looking at a supposed antique chest, the first thing I will do is pull out a drawer to look at the dovetails; next I run my hand under the drawer to feel for the chamfering of the bottom of the drawer. Chamfering indicates hand work and quality.

Finally, the swivel block used to support the "leaf" is shown as is the underside of the table (photo #4), please excuse the cob webs.

I hope that this little table wets your appetite for antique American furniture. I am more than happy to share my knowledge of antique furniture on this site. When I was in my early 20s I met an antique dealer who spent a lot of time SHOWING me the ropes on antique furniture. I learned from him for FREE and am willing to pass on what I learned to others.

As always reproduction of these images is prohibited. Reproduction of the furniture is highly encouraged!



  1. SEAN68 SEAN68, 4 years ago
    Stunning Scott!!!
  2. fhrjr2 fhrjr2, 4 years ago
    Really nice. Thanks for showing those joints. I always like to see the how is it made shots.
  3. scottvez scottvez, 4 years ago
    Thanks for looking fhrjr2.

    We are of the same opinion on antique furniture-- the joints and underside usually "tell the tale" on age. Unfortunately, with the wardrobe I just posted I didn't have the inclination to remove clothes to show the interior!

    Thanks again,

  4. scottvez scottvez, 4 years ago
    Thanks much gargoyle.

  5. inky inky, 4 years ago
    Lovely table...:-)
  6. scottvez scottvez, 4 years ago
    Thanks for looking inky.

  7. fhrjr2 fhrjr2, 4 years ago
    I had to go back and look before speaking about the joints on this piece. They actually started using this design dovetail somewhere around 1790. It was a redesign for drawers that they felt would hold the face plate and the sides together better. Notice how the top and bottom angle locks the side in place. Around 1890 the top cut got much deeper and the bottom was a more shallow cut joint. The top was actually two different angles on the same joint.
  8. scottvez scottvez, 4 years ago
    Great information fhrjr2. I was not familiar with that information. I had never thought much about the top/ bottom dovetails used to better hold the side piece.

    I am familiar with early thin cut dovetails and of course much later machine cut joints.

    I'll take another look at some of my other pieces to note the similarities and differences.

    As always, I appreciate you looking fhrjr.

  9. fhrjr2 fhrjr2, 4 years ago
    You may find some scroll and pin dovetails. They were kind of half round and had a dowel in each of the joints to hold it tight. Those will put you well into the 1800's and early 1900's but you don't see them much. The wooden pin went into end grain and as the wood dried they fell out.
  10. scottvez scottvez, 4 years ago
    Yes-- I have seen those before. The ones I saw were early 20th century oak furniture.

  11. scottvez scottvez, 4 years ago
    Thanks for looking bratjdd.

  12. scottvez scottvez, 4 years ago
    Thanks much toolate.

  13. scottvez scottvez, 4 years ago
    Thanks official, fluffy and vetraio.

  14. scottvez scottvez, 4 years ago
    Thanks tom.

  15. tom61375, 4 years ago
    You are very welcome scottvez! =)
  16. scottvez scottvez, 4 years ago
    Thanks charcoal.

  17. scottvez scottvez, 4 years ago
    Thanks havenrain.

  18. bratjdd bratjdd, 4 years ago
    Thank you, Scott for the information I appreciated it. :)
  19. scottvez scottvez, 2 years ago
    Thanks bratjdd and moonstone.


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