A few months ago I wrote blog post about selling my Pennsylvania Secretary on Facebook Marketplace. Some of you commented that the $1800 I listed it for was way too low, but I knew that these types of furniture are not very popular anymore.
After a few weeks of it being listed and not getting any bites, I lowered it to $400. Even then, I only had one person contact me about it. The person was asking if it was a real antique or not. After I told him I made it, he never responded back. So it just sat out there with very little fews and no likes.
My wife was sick of the piece sitting in the garage so I decided to contact a local online auction company. After I sent them a few pictures, they responded that they would love to sell and I should bring it down to their warehouse.
When I met the owner of the company, he swooned over it. He thought the desk was the coolest piece of furniture he had seen in a long time. He even told me that he was going to feature it as his beauty shot for the auction.
I woke up this morning and checked my email. Sure enough, there was my secretary on the front of his email. I’ll get 60% for whatever it sells for which probably won’t even come close to the amount it cost me to make back in 2004.
Here’s the link to the auction. The desk is lot No 27. My guess is that it will sell for under $500. What’s yours?
I built this Pennsylvania Secretary back in 2004. It was an article in Fine Woodworking Magazine by Ronnie Bird. I fell in love with the idea of making a piece as complicated as this with it’s intrical cubbies and drawers.
The door panels and desk lid were all sliced from a single piece of 2″ thick walnut. I sliced the wood by hand with my hand saw because the 13″ width of the wood was too wide for my band saw that could only rip stock 12″ wide. I remember it being a major pain the ass.
I used a bread board edge on the lid so that it wouldn’t warp. The joint works well because seventeen years later, the lid is still perfectly flat.
I cut the curvature of the drawers on a band saw and smoothed them with my oscillating drum sander. The panel on the small door was a piece of crotch walnut.
There are a few hidden compartments inside the desk where I kept my silver dollar coins that my Mom gave me before she passed away. The columns slide open to keep important documents but I never stored anything in them.
The drawer fronts were sliced from a single piece of curly walnut that I laminated onto a walnut substrate for each drawer. I cut the cabriolet feet on the band saw and then glued each side together.
The lid opens up to act as a working desk but it actually sucks as a desk. The lid is too high off the ground for my liking.
I built the sides and case with 7/8″ thick walnut with red oak secondary wood. I used red oak because I had a boatload of it when I bought a bundle of it from the company I used to work for. They sold it as oak fence boards so the quality of the wood was not the best. I didn’t care because it was seconday wood but it made the piece extremely heavy. I should have used white pine or poplar instead.
I used plywood on the back and drawer bottoms because the expense of making it was getting out of hand. I paid over $600 for all of the brass hardware and the walnut cost me over $800.
As nice as this piece is, it’s been used as a junk drawer all these years as we just store a bunch of crap in it. I used to store my cd collection in the top cabinet but I sold a lot of them a few years ago on half.com when I was uploading my collection into a digital format.
The secretary has been sitting in our garage ever since we got hit with the tornado last year. After the tornado, we had to take all of our furniture out of the house and into pods in our driveway while our house was being put back together. When everything was done, we never brought it back into the house because it’s too big and heavy to move.
I currently have it for sale on Facebook Marketplace for $1800 but I’ll be surprised if anyone buys it. It’s not an antique so it doesn’t have any value in that way and no one buys big pieces of furniture like this anymore. I may have to donate it or just keep it in the garage.
The secretary was fun to make, but I wouldn’t make it again. All it’s good for is to take pictures and show people “look what I made.”
UPDATE 7-16-21. After zero bites on Marketplace for weeks, I lowered to $500. We’ll see if it sells.