• Mr. Stafford

Maple Nightstand (Virginia House)

(2 Kings 4:8-11) “¶ And it fell on a day, that Elisha passed to Shunem, where was a great woman; and she constrained him to eat bread. And so it was, that as oft as he passed by, he turned in thither to eat bread. {9} And she said unto her husband, Behold now, I perceive that this is an holy man of God, which passeth by us continually. {10} Let us make a little chamber, I pray thee, on the wall; and let us set for him there a bed, and a table, and a stool, and a candlestick: and it shall be, when he cometh to us, that he shall turn in thither. {11} And it fell on a day, that he came thither, and he turned into the chamber, and lay there.”

Ofttimes, it takes me quite a while to read through certain chapters of scripture, due to the tendency of my mind to get lost in imagining minute details about places and spaces when they are described. I wonder if the above mentioned table was a short, nightstand type of table, upon which,

Elisha might have placed some sacred Mosaic scroll he may have been reading before blowing out the candle and falling asleep. Could that have been? Who knows; I still enjoy imagining such things anyway.

This maple nightstand is part of a Virginia House bedroom set from the 1940’s. I have been commissioned to refinish the complete set and it is proving to be a most pleasant task.

Signs of water damage, scratches from heavy use and evidence of childhood “art” experimentation are part of several of the pieces in this set. Not shown, is the inside of the nightstand which was split completely through and cracked in several places; requiring significant repairs.

With the exception of the inside repairs, the rest of the nightstand was fairly solid and only needed to be stripped in my usual manner using card scrapers.

While removing the original plywood back panel, I noticed that it had become delaminated and the edges, where it had been nailed to the back, had become

too brittle to reinstall. Instead, I replaced it with a new piece of birch plywood.

The customer has a great number of fine and well cared for antiques; many of which are beautiful golden oak. She wanted the maple set to match the rest of the oak in her home as closely as possible. The maple has aged well and the darker color was easily removed; all that was needed was a few coats of amber shellac for the color to match well with the oak in her home.

This knob (as well as the drawer pulls on the other pieces) was darkened by using shellac with a dark brown dye added. Pure, dewaxed shellac can be as shiny as glass when applied properly; however, the sheen may be knocked down to create any sheen from high gloss to a matte finish.

I am attempting to teach myself how to take semi studio quality photographs of the work that I do and I must admit that lighting still confuses me. As a result, maple comes out in my photographs in strange colors. Hopefully, you can get a good idea of the final result from these photographs.

I was able to find an old advertisement for this bedroom set:

Sincerely and respectfully,

Mr. Stafford

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