Included in his investigation of the life, tools and a detailed look at the furniture of Jonathan Fisher (1768-1847), a rural Maine minister and craftsman, author Joshua A. Klein also presents an overview of 38 pieces built by this Harvard-educated renaissance man. Below is number 10, a charming child’s desk, from “Hands Employed Aright.”
Dimensions: D: 19-1⁄2″ W: 25-3⁄4″ H: 32-1⁄2″; stock thickness 3⁄4″-7⁄8″
Wood(s): maple or birch; legs are an unknown hardwood (possibly beech)
Inscriptions/stamps: sticker on cubby lid “Desk made by Rev. Jonathan Fisher Blue Hill, ME. (1791-1847) Lonnie E. Davis got it in 1948-9 fr. James Fisher bequest to MA Dodge 1955”
From the collection of: Jonathan Fisher Memorial
Construction: The desk is made of butted and nailed construction. The legs protrude up through bottom as corner reinforcement and were nailed from the outside. Everything is nailed together through the adjacent face. The nail holes appear to have been puttied. The top has a hinged scalloped decoration. The apron also has scalloped decorative pieces nailed to the undersides of the front and sides. The desk lid’s hinges are face mounted. The writing surface end grain is covered by a 1⁄4″-thick decorative carved strip. There are turned balls on the front corners. The top-hung drawer is butted and nailed with cut nails. The drawer runners are nailed from the bottom up into the desk with cut nails. The inside cubby is divided into four compartments. The small hinged cubby door is on wire cotterpin hinges. The writing surface has a lock attached with nails. The bottom is nailed in place from all sides. There is yellow paint residue in cracks and dark yellow putty in the nail holes. On and around the hinges are remnants of red paint. Red pigment is visible on the drawer underside. The desk underside has pink chalky residue.
Tool Marks: There is considerable tear-out on the inside of one of the legs. There are some sash sawmill marks on the desk bottom. The bottom was planed with a fore plane. Most surfaces are smooth (perhaps due to later sanding during refinishing). The apron scallops have chisel facets and there is a saw kerf visible between scallops. There are divider center points on the scalloped details on the aprons. There are fore plane marks on the drawer face. The drawer bottom is rough and irregular. There are chisel facets on the top scalloped detail.
Condition: stable; the legs are extremely warped