Sandy and I took a short break and headed for the Sparks Flea Market on Thursday, to attend the 2008 opening day. We were there two years ago, and looked forward to finding some unique hand tools, or unusual cabinets. Sparks, a tiny, unincorporated town, is located in NW Kansas; it is nestled amongst some low and rolling hills; it is surrounded by beautiful corn and soy bean fields. Make sure to read about the Sparks Ghost Town; the story is written by Elmer, the Night Guard for the Sparks flea market.
We ran into Rick, a tool collector and tool maker from St Joseph, MO – he is practically our neighbor. He had on display a vast array of hand tools, but not one I was looking for this time. Nevertheless, we will be visiting him in St Jo soon. He makes metal tools, too, from plumb bobs to enormous punch centers – all of recycled materials. Here is Rick with a portion of his large display of hammers of every imaginable type:
We found two cabinets I loved. The first I liked because I had never seen one like it; and the second one, because we already have a similar one, and Sandy would like nothing better than for me to build a similar upper cabinet and base, as a – matched – set.
The first cabinet is a pie safe, possibly made by an Amish craftsman. It was different from any pie safe I have ever seen; this one has a mesh screen on the door (is the mesh a replacement for original tin panels?). The back was (my guess) shiplapped construction; I was unable to move it to look at the joinery, because other stuff around it meant moving more than the nice lady owner wished to move (its price was astronomical):
And the second piece, a bakers table and storage cabinet, caught our attention. Sandy already has in the kitchen an antique bakers table, minus the storage cabinet. First, our find, with dovetailed drawers and mortise and tenon joinery on both the top cabinet and the table:
Sadly, the drawer pulls had been replaced with gaudy plastic-looking handles, and the finish had been redone in some non-traditional finish. A shame, as a collector might not want it in this refinished condition.
Regardless, my excitement grew as I looked at this table and storage unit on top, as it reminded me of ours in one corner of the kitchen:
I have no idea whether ours is older or newer. But the drawers are put together with nails:
I suspect I might be making a reproduction bakers table and storage cabinet at some point in the not-too-distant future. If so, I relish the opportunity to making a matched set of these two pieces.
I have a request for everyone reading this: Please help me nail down a good reference for the pie safe above. I look forward to learning more about this type of cabinet. Thanks!