It’s a well-known fact that new furniture, unless at the very high end, is manufactured, or mass-produced for a look rather than for long life. There was a time when people bought furniture expecting that it would be passed down to other generations. Family heirlooms if you will. Now planned obsolescence is the rule of the day. All you need do is open a drawer of a new, mid-price dresser and look at how it fits together. More than likely you’ll find that the front is glued to the sides and the only solid, or veneered portion is the front of the drawer. Really well made, (read expensive), new furniture is dovetailed, not glued, and the material used is not pressboard or plywood, it’s the real thing; so, the question is how do you get superior quality without spending a fortune? And for those collectors that love Mid-Century Modern or other specific period furniture, the answer is really the same. Consignment shops, antique shops, flea markets, estate sales, auctions, and the like.

Man’s chest circa 1920, mahogany with cherry trim, brass handles. Style, Louis IVI, made in the US. Purchased at auction for $200.00. Incredible quality. Has stood the test of time. Not refinished.

The drawer front is attached with dovetailing. This is a drawer from a man’s chest. The wood is mahogany as is the dresser. No glue, exemplary craftsmanship.

Leg of same man’s chest. Turned and fluted edge detail, brass inlay surrounding the side panels. Imagine the cost of a chest like this today. I’m not sure one could buy one. It would have to be custom. Probably around &5,000.

Here is an example of a glued drawer front. The side is plywood, the glue joint is visible. No dovetailing. Circa 1985, around $300.00 new. No determined style. Probably early American. Which would you rather own?

Shopping in antique shops, consignment shops, thrift shops, and flea markets can give you a wealth of knowledge and ideas, and you can also learn to spot real quality. The consignment shops are filled with accessories as well as furniture. And, if you have overflowing closets and cabinets you can consign your unwanted, unused furniture, accessories, clothing, shoes, handbags, and the like. There’s money in it! Buying or selling – consignment shopping is a hoot. Antique shops don’t accept consignment but are also a great place for a “find”. Estate sales and auctions are not for the faint of heart but once you’ve been bitten by the bug, watch out. For anyone who would like a list of local hot spots – send me an e-mail,, and I’ll fill you in.