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Chinese Antique Chest Restoration Print E-mail

John Rogers: Hi my name is John.

Yuqing Zhao: Hi, I'm Yuqing.

John Rogers: And we're here to show you a genuinely old piece of Chinese furniture. But because of heavy usage in China over the course of the years and because of more adverse indoor weather conditions than we frequently find in this county there is often a need for a lot of restoration to the individual pieces of furniture. There are four things that have been restored here and they're pretty easy for you to find out once you know what to look for. They are the doors, the drawer down at the bottom, the top and these wings right here. Yuqing, do you want to tell us about these?

Yuqing Zhao: Sure, okay. First of all, let's open the doors. I believe this was how it was opened originally. And now they open like this. So I know this part originally must be a panel and it was cut from here and this pull was originally here. It was moved over here. This way - why they do that, they can open it all the way so they can add a shelf inside. They can maximize the using of the interior space.

John Rogers: And you know that because you can see the spot down here where this hinge was originally filled in.

Yuqing Zhao: Yes, this is the rung where too and the spots filled up on this side and of course on the other side too.

John Rogers: And you can also feel here with your hands the matching hole that was filled in to the one on the bottom. So those are great things for you to check out just to know what's been done. You want to tell us about the drawer Yuqing?

Yuqing Zhao: Yes let's open it. This drawer to me, obviously originally this piece is supposed not to have a drawer down below. And now it has it and I think this must be added. They added this because it's inconvenient to reach stuff from the inside. So they added a drawer in there to maximize the using to make it more functional as well.

John Rogers: And you can tell by looking at the top of the drawer and you can see the line right along here where the panel originally was and then this drawer added. Also there's no wear on the runners and slides where the drawer gets pulled out.

Yuqing Zhao: But you can see where it was originally a panel.

John Rogers: Correct, correct. Boy I tell you, they really do a terrific job on taking old furniture and turning it into something that is very, very useful. There were two more areas that I said we would talk about the top being one. Yuqing talk to us about this top.

Yuqing Zhao: Sure, okay. This top, to me, this is a piece at least 100 years old. It shouldn't have a top with such flat and smooth feeling.

John Rogers: Sure.

Yuqing Zhao: When I touch it. So it must be something done on it. They either planed it to make the top more smooth and flat or what they could do if the top was severely damaged they could just replace the top.

John Rogers: Replace the panel.

Yuqing Zhao: The panel and not rim.

John Rogers: And do you want to talk with us also about what might have been done on the sides here?

Yuqing Zhao: Okay, the side - we're talking about the apron, we call it the apron -- the wings. This wing looks small to me and down below I saw some further marks which is giving me a hint that this wing was originally bigger. Why they cut it off one thing, they think it's better with a simple look or this wing was damaged a lot on either side or both sides. So they make it smaller now. They make it simple looking as well.

John Rogers: Cheaper than trying to repair the whole thing. So thanks Yuqing these are some simple things that you can look for when you're checking out a nice, old piece of Chinese vernacular furniture. That is furniture that was used by just everyday folks like us. Thanks again.

Yuqing Zhao: Thank you.