Antiques & Collectables

Our favourite custom made chest of drawers

Have you visited the Manning Regional Museum, in Wingham, lately? It is an eye opener. A great place to get ideas for existing or new collecting. The team, at the Museum is doing a wonderful job displaying our local area’s history. A wonderful diversity. Much transformation has gone on in the last couple of years, and the display rates as one of the best Regional Museum exhibitions in the state. Bring yourselves, family and visitors for a great experience of reminiscing and discoveries over the festive season. You won’t be disappointed! Open 10am until 4pm daily.

An easy gift idea for family and friends comes from observing what they collect and, throughout the year, keep it in the back of your mind when you are out and about, at markets, garage sales, antique stores or second hand shops. If that special piece is there, consider buying it, and tucking it away until the appropriate gift occasion comes along. It always shows that a lot of thought has gone into your gift, and it will be appreciated, especially if it is unique for their collection.

Cabinet making is the use of fine woodworking skills to make cabinets and furniture. Cabinetmakers were apprenticed, and learnt to use the tools of the cabinet-making trade. There were few full-time furniture makers in England or America until the last half of the 17th century. In Australia, fine furniture making, out of timbers such as red cedar and Huon pine, developed as the colony grew.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, cabinetmakers became well known because of their skills and quality of their workmanship. Cabinet making was an essential trade in early colonial days, and  was a huge money maker. They made furniture such as cabinets, chairs, doors, drawers, cupboards, bed frames, tables, and many more. They used gimlets, gouges, bow saws, chisels, braces, and hacksaws to make their furniture. Apprentices were taken on to learn the craft, and  started with very lowly jobs, such as sweeping up, and keeping the fire alight.

As apprentices became more adept in their knowledge and skills, they were encouraged to show their developing skills by working on miniature pieces in a variety of different timbers. Only when the master was satisfied with the skill level attained, was the apprentice allowed to progress to larger pieces.

Many years ago, Jenny and I were attending an Antiques Fair in Armidale, and  I came across this apprentice piece. After much studying of the workmanship, the dealer and I negotiated, and came up with a figure that suited us both. We have been the proud custodians ever since. The little chest of drawers (less than 30cm tall) is made up of seven different timbers, and is beautifully appointed.

You never know when those interesting pieces will show up, so you do the rounds and, when you least expect it, something wonderful will be found.

I love the finds and the stories that travel with them.

If you have items you are not sure of, I may be able to help with information, appraisals or sales. I love the history and stories of old and interesting items. Ring Rex – 0427 880 546.

Here’s wishing you a very Happy New Year!

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