The excellent craftsmanship and the handsome darkened patina of this hand made oval bentwood box make it so desirable. It's made from pieces of steam-bent wood; the top of the lid and the box bottom are pine, while the bentwood pieces are black cherry. Like Shaker boxes, no glue was used in its construction and tiny copper tacks fasten the fingers. One of these tacks is missing on the far right of the bottom lap; the tiny hole is hidden when the lid is on (you can see it in photograph # 6, especially when you zoom). Each finger ends in a narrow arch shape, which is termed a "swallowtail." We are calling this "Shaker style;" there are a myriad of so-called Shaker boxes on the market and although it would be nice to claim that this one is, too, we will stick with calling it "in the style of" those made by the Shakers.
The box 6 1/4 inches long, 4 5/8 inches front to back and 2 1/4 inches tall, measured with the lid on and at the widest points. It has wear that includes a tiny chip out of the edge of the lid; a split in the tip of the swallowtail where the copper tack was hammered in and a V-shaped scratch in the lid, all of which can be easily seen in our photographs. There are no cracks, missing pieces or repairs, good condition for a box made at the turn of the last century.
The tacks have oxidized, darkening the wood around them, indicating aging. The lid, the color of which has mottled over the years, removes easily and fits snugly; interestingly, though, it fits slightly better when both fingers are on the same side. The wood does not appear to have been sealed with varnish or lacquer and is very low luster. The interior is fairly clean and smells like...wood. It's a beautiful antique box, lovely by itself or perched on a stack.