Saturday, October 15, 2011

Day 296/365 Table Redux

Slim pickings today, but this mahogany table did come home with us. At first glance it's considered a Duncan Phyfe style 1920's reproduction.

Duncan Phyfe (originally spelled Fife) was born in Loch Fannich, Scotland in 1768 but emigrated to the newly established United States of America in 1784, at the age of 16. He apprenticed with a cabinetmaker, and eventually became one of the most reputable furniture makers in America, producing furniture in all the popular styles of the day, including Federal, Neo-Classic, Empire, Regency and Rococo Revival.

The one style he *didn't* produce was Duncan Phyfe, since every element that is now considering an identifying element of his furniture, was, in fact, already popular long before he began building furniture.

Splayed ribbed legs? Yep. Already popular in a variety of styles. Very familiar to the American colonies.

Brass paw feet? So common that their absence would have been remarkable.

Drop leafs? Done to death. Mahogany? The pine of its time.

So Duncan Phyfe himself would have no idea what we meant when we say something is "Duncan Phyfe" style. A piece of furniture actually made by him in the early 1800's would have a paper label attached, clearly labeled Duncan Phyfe. However, one hundred years and twenty years later, Duncan Phyfe reproductions would actually eclipse the original furniture maker, and become a "style" all its own.

And so we have this mahogany Duncan Phyfe repro dining room table that followed us home today. Worn spots, water marks, deep scratches, and what I think may actually be traces of grey paint in a few spots.

Once I fell for the misguided random thought of "I-can-take-it-home-and-strip-and-refinish-it...It'll-be-a-project". Now I know that this will never actually happen. The projects will simply pile up and overwhelm me. So I need magic fixes and quick solutions.

Like Old English. This time I'll use the Dark Wood liquid, but it comes in Light Wood and Lemon Oil as well.

It's magic. Grey paint disolves, scratches disappear, the wood actually glows and grime that has accumulated over the years is removed. Total time: 15 minutes.

Duncan would have killed for it. Or maybe he invented it. Yeah, that's probably what happened.


  1. Wow, that is awesome. Thank you for this post. I am in Canada, so I am not sure I can find Old English scratch repair here. I have a Duncan Phyfe style table as well. Mine is bigger, with 3 legs. I also have 6 chairs that came with it. I bought mine 10 years ago from an ad in a newspaper.

  2. I am looking at buying a table just like this with 6 chairs and 2 leaves for $175. Is this a good deal?