Dating antique secretary desk
If it has only a few dovetail joints, with pins narrower than the dovetails, then the joint was made by hand.
When you want to refinish old wooden furniture, the best place to look is the family storeroom: Check the attic, basement, garage, or wherever unwanted furniture has collected.
If you aren't sure an antique is really antique, pay for an expert opinion.
Never buy an antique, or try to refinish it, until you know what you have.
A secretary desk is, despite its name, generally not used by a person with the title of secretary, since this kind of desk is an antique form which is now extremely rare in the modern office, where a secretary (frequently called an administrative assistant) normally works.
It's easy to spot an antique by the drawers, because joints weren't machine-cut until about 1860.
With furniture, as with anything else, one person's junk is another another's treasure.
Antique stores are a good place to find furniture to refinish, but expect to pay for these pieces.
There are many different styles of furniture, and each type has distinguishing features.In a taxonomic sense one could sometimes say that all desks which have the capacity to close off the working surface are secretaries, while all others are simply desks, but such a division would be too broad to be useful.To add to the confusion, certain forms of the secretary desk are called escritoire, usually when the bookcase section is covered with glazed panels instead of wooden doors, but the term escritoire is also sometimes used to define a very portable writing slope, which is it at the other extreme in terms of bulk and weight.The whole is usually a single, tall and heavy piece of furniture.Like the slant top desk, the main work surface is a hinged piece of wood which is flat when open and oblique when raised to enclose secondary work surfaces such as small shelves, small drawers and nooks stacked in front of the user.