Last summer, I went to northern New York, to work on a construction project on a family property and blog about genealogy and family history when I could. Here is an anecdote that relates to antique furniture and a visit from an Amish family.
We are demolishing an old structure. There are lots of items to give away, as well as a smaller number of special things we want to keep for the new cabin that will be built on the site.
We have already given a wood-burning stove made of iron and several beds to a local Amish family, whose two middle sons, aged 18 and 19, loaded it up on the biggest horse-drawn wagon I have ever seen:
“Don’t give it away," my parents said. "It’s a nice piece of walnut furniture with dovetail joints.”
That interested me. Dovetail joints are an old-fashioned method of manufacture. It went out of style 150 years ago, but furniture made this way is renowned for quality construction.
I looked on the outside of the chest and couldn’t see any dovetail joints.
My father took out one of the drawers and showed me. I couldn't believe how small and fragile they looked, but they had held together this chest of drawers since sometime in the 1800s!
We are keeping the chest. But I also took a lesson to heart: Important details are easily missed. Sometimes, you need to look twice.