Why Not Buy an Antique Secretary for the Holidays?
Choosing Your Antique Secretary Desk
The thing about a secretary desk is that it promotes work-life balance in a way that makes it appealing to both collectors and people looking on eBay for a working desk. Where some other vintage furniture may be purely decorative, a secretary desk can be just as functional as it is attractive. The writing surface just folds up out of the way so that you don't have to look at your work space all the time; it's both practical and space-saving.One reason they have become more popular once again is the shift from desktops to laptops; smaller computers are easier to put in a secretary rather than a conventional hutch. An antique secretary desk and chair can often look and feel better than modern refurbished or pre-owned pieces.
What About Secretary Styles?
Secretary desks come in a range of different styles, though they all feature a hinged work surface in the front. One of the main characteristic features is the presence of various compartments and drawers for storage and organization in the front. While the majority feature both drawers below the writing surface there are a number of variations as to the tops. Some feature bookshelves with glass doors, while others are more like traditional cabinets that keep everything safely out of sight when not in use. Many even have a cubby or two behind the writing surface. Some feature a half desk with a full height cabinet beside it. There are a number of different terms that can be used for similar desks:
- Secretaire: This is the traditional secretary, designed much like a bureau with a bookcase on top of it.
- Escritoire: Although the term is often used interchangeably with a secretary, this term also applies to smaller more portable drop front desks.
What Kind of Wood Should You Look For in an Antique Desk or Secretary?
Whether you are looking for a collectors piece from the first half of the twentieth century or simply something used to get some work done on, you should always pay attention to the wood the desk is made from. Different kinds of furniture benefit from different woods, and also provide a different appearance in your living room or home office. Secretary desks are often made from the following kinds of wood:
- Cherry: This is a moderate hardwood; it's easy to work and shows detail well. While newly made cherry furniture is often light-colored it darkens with time, gaining its rich color over the period of a year or so.
- Mahogany: This tropical hardwood has a dark rich color. It's very strong and durable, and was very popular with high-end cabinetmakers due to the way it takes a finish. It's more common in antique furniture due to more recent concerns about tropical rainforests.
- Oak: Often the default, this is a strong, heavy wood with a light color and open grain. Oak furniture is long-lasting and sturdy.
- Walnut: This dark hardwood manages to combine strength with only moderate weight. It's popular with many cabinetmakers but tends to be expensive because of the amount of burls and sapwood in the lumber.