This piece came in from a long-time Sonoma county family. It has been in the family since the 1800's; piano (or spinet) desks, so named because they resemble the instrument, were popular back in the mid-19th century.
They figured prominently in the standard office furniture of the 1840’s and 1850’s, eventually morphing into the roll top desk, also designed to “hide” the clutter on the desk and have lots of pigeon holes for storage. Abraham Lincoln had quite an intricate variation on a piano style desk.
This heirloom desk came to me in pieces and was missing the fall board. Numerous repairs were made to it, including replacement of the barrel hinges. The most challenging portion of the restoration was the re-creation of the fall board (which sits in the center of the apron when the lid is closed). In my archives I had a beautiful piece of walnut with a fiddleback grain from a dining table @ the 1880’s that worked perfectly. It was meant to be. The piece turned out spectacularly-- if I don't say so myself! Happy, happy, happy….
It was gifted by my client to a lucky family member and sent to Idaho.
This is a pre-restoration image of the pigeon holes from inside of cabinet which depicts clearly the sad overall condition of the rest of the piece; unfortunately I have no other before pics.
Almost done-- piano desk supported by another table to allow me to attach the legs:
Complete restoration and piece is back at home: