Sunday, February 7, 2010

Antique Inspiration

All out of ideas for a new project? Suffering from woodworker's block? Wishing your spouse would give you a honey-do list?

Snap out of it! You're a woodworker. So head to a place that features feats of woodworking.

Some favorite places that help spark my electrons are museums and antique stores.

And if you live in my area, you don't have run-of-the-mill antique stores, you have the Antique Capital of South Central PA: New Oxford, Pennsylvania.

There you will find lots of pieces to inspire and invigorate. And by the end of the day, you'll be itching to get into your shop.

I asked permission to take photos at three antique stores, and all said yes. So if you plan to go antiquing or to museums, be sure to take your camera. Many places will allow you to take photos.

The PA German painted dower chest top right was dated 1807. This one was unusual for the amount of remaining paint on top, the vibrancy of the paint, and the three lower drawers.

Another piece that caught my eye—a PA German hanging corner cupboard—was also 18th c. and had its original paint and hardware.

Other items were a double-lidded pencil box, reminiscent of Roy's grease box, a chip carved serving tray, a chest that reminded me of 18th c. New England furniture, a large cupboard on desk, and a workbench.

The bench had been used well but was well preserved, and by the shape of the feet, may have been built by PA Germans. The sliding deadman no longer slid, which may have been the result of the massive 3" top having sagged a bit. The pinch dogs were pretty neat—just a sharp point driven into two tall bench dogs that can hold a spindle or other long piece of wood. Still a useful addition to today's benches.

So, don't despair if your woodworking idea-well has run dry. Visit an antique store or museum. And if you have none nearby, visit your local library. But that's for another post.

Thank you to the three antique stores that granted me permission to photograph their pieces:
1. Collector's Choice Antiques Gallery, email:; phone: 717.624.3440
2. New Oxford Antique Center, email:; phone: 866.333.NOAC
3. Golden Lane Antique Gallery, email:; phone: 717.624.3800