This has been the focus of most of my attention over the past two weeks.......a charming period Louis XV Transitional Secretaire a Abattant, c. 1765.
Today was the day that Roberto was going to challenge the offending lock. Should I simply have him load the abattant into the Explorer and then cart it off to Carlos? Or should we try to open it ourselves? My idea was to cut out one of the oak panels under the top drawer; so that is where Roberto started... And Roberto will figure out just about everything and then stick with the problem until he arrives at a solution. After removing the panel, he couldn't see well enough to find the lock's screws--I scrounged up a small mirror and my neighbor had a flash light--and Roberto got to work
IN PROGRESS (this took about 30-40 minutes)
Because I had not seen the interior of the abattant before purchasing it, I was a bit worried that the leather surface would need to be replaced (this would be very very expensive as thin splits are used for writing surfaces--but not to worry. JUST LOOK AT THE CONDITION OF THE ORIGINAL LEATHER!!! Almost mint.......not only that, the entire interior of the abattant, including the small drawers, is in top notch original condition.
In this last photo you can see one of the sides where there is an additional locking mechanism (about 3 inches down from the top edge of the lid) that locks the sides so that the fall front cannot be pried open.
This is not a simple, easy to fabricate key project. All aspects of the lock were custom made for this particular abattant; the double locking mechanism would cost me about $300-$400 to remove and then custom fabricate the new key from scratch. Fortunately, the fall front is very stable and remains upright even when Roberto hits the panel.
So, I think my lock journey ends here. I will have the lower cabinet lock and the drawer lock repaired--a fairly easy task. And if the new owner wants to have a key made for the fall front, I will be happy to have Carlos create one at an additional cost.
Was there hidden treasure inside the abattant--haven't found it yet--but the beauty of the piece and Roberto's commitment to finding solutions is enough for me.
This fine little piece of furniture has been loved throughout it's 250+ years of life--I wonder what it has been witness to and who cared for it so lovingly. I am so happy that we didn't have to compromise any of its original integrity while opening the abattant. Roberto will do a little more restoration work on the rosewood veneer and then she will be ready to go.
AND TOMORROW IS AUCTION THURSDAY!! I've got my eye on a sleeper (hopefully)--we'll see what happens.
Can't believe that it is almost Labor Day!!! This summer really did whiz by......
Mary & Jones & Cole