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All brass is carefully cleaned and coated with clear lacquer to prevent tarnish.
Other metal is cleaned and repainted or coated to prevent rust.
This type of joint is fairly easy to make, requiring no sophisticated tools and is still seen in typical “high school shop” type projects and in lesser quality commercial goods, especially when non-wood compositions are used in drawer construction. One, nails of the 17th century were rare and precious, being individually hand made and two, the joint wasn’t very strong.
Toward the end of the 17th century, the Dutch created the concept of the interlocking “dovetail” joint.
So what does all this tell us about the age of a piece?
It is a five sided box that must fit perfectly within a case (a six-sided box) and be removable on demand without binding or breaking either the drawer or the case.
To do so it must incorporate some type of suspension mechanism to allow it to travel in and out of the case.
In many cases the nails are installed in cut outs in the drawer side so they do not protrude above the surface and impede the travel of the drawer.
This is typical construction of the 16th and 17th centuries, including Pilgrim drawers.
An early answer to the question was a “nailed rabbet.” A rabbet joint is created when a piece of wood fits at a right angle into a notch cut into another piece of wood.