Manufacturers have been stamping their wares for centuries. If the piece of furniture is in fairly good condition, or if it's definitely an antique, it will be worth your time and effort to refinish. This can mean that they were handcrafted prior to That said, it is important to realize that skilled craftsmen are building furniture by hand even today so you'll want to continue to investigate the age of the piece using at least one other method. The finish on the wood can also date the piece. Other good sources are secondhand stores, household auctions, and garage sales. For the most part, the furniture you'll encounter will probably be limited to traditional English and American Colonial styles; you aren't likely to find a Louis XV chair at a garage sale.
Showroom - Frequently Asked Questions. As the dovetail joint evolved through the last one hundred thirty years, it becomes a clue for the age and authenticity of antique furniture. The type of dovetailed joint, especially in drawers, reveals much about furniture construction and dating. With just a little study of these examples, it is easy to spot true hand made construction vs. The earliest examples are from furniture placed with mummies in Egypt thousands of years ago, and also in the burials of ancient Chinese emperors. For thousands of years, a dovetail joint was created by a skilled cabinetmaker using small, precision saws and wood chisels. Tiny angled saw cuts were followed by careful cutting by a sharpened chisel on both sides to avoid splintering. When the joint is expertly executed, it is a thing of beauty, and a secure joining of two boards that can last for centuries. A little glue cements the connection, and a good dovetail joint has great strength and durability. This secretary desk from about was built by a good country carpenter, notice the dovetails on the side of the drawer, and holding the top and side planks together as well. Hand cut dovetails were used to hold the sides of drawers together, but also to join the structural members of case furniture. Hand made screws and nails were relatively expensive and could rust and expand, sometimes cracking the wood they secured. Glues of the period sometimes weakened. Dovetails have great strength, holding pieces of wood in perfect alignment over long periods of time.
If you are trying to determine the age of a piece of American antique furnitureit will require investigative work. Look this web page at the the different elements that make the piece of furniture.
Examine the level of work that went into the furniture from the joinery, finishing, knobs, and more. Study the materials used from the wood, fabric, and screws. If you take all these factors into consideration, you may be able to figure out on your own if have an antique or a machine-made reproduction.
When you are trying to determine the age of piece you cannot just look at furniture style. Popular styles have been prolifically reproduced over the years and some of these classic styles are still being made today. The overall style—such as ChippendaleWilliam and MaryQueen Anneor rococo revival —can serve as a potential clue, although, not a definitive one.
Once you determine a particular style, look for the signs of aging that would verify if you have an antique or not. Click to see more a look at the joinery the spots in furniture where the pieces come together.
Look at the bottom or back of a piece or inside its doors and drawers. This can provide important clues about whether a piece of old furniture was machine cut or crafted by hand. Most handmade pieces will have some irregularities on the surface like minor nicks that were made by a hand plane being used to smooth out the which is the best dating website for professionals. These nicks are sometimes even more evident on the back than on the finished, front surface.
If the work looks too even or perfect, it was likely machine-made or machine-cut. Most machine-made pieces date to after the Industrial Revolution after Small matching elements click the following article furniture, such as wooden drawer knobs, chair spindles, or feet on a variety of objects, may have slight differences in the shape.
This can mean that they were handcrafted prior to Machine-made furniture will have components that match more perfectly than those made by hand. When hand planes were used dating antique furniture drawers smooth woods, they usually left some sort of uneven surface.
This is especially evident on the back or underside of pieces made prior to the mids. Hand chisels and wood-shaping tools operated with elbow grease left cuts and nicks in the wood. In comparison, manually operated hand saws left a straighter pattern. A handcrafted furniture piece does not set it in time as an antique. Furniture is still being crafted by hand today. However, machine-made evidence does give you a better picture of when the piece of furniture could not be from.
It can be difficult distinguishing dating antique furniture drawers type of wood or finish used on a furniture piece, but these are important clues. Certain types of woods were favored during different furniture periods. For example, oak was primarily used in furniture made prior to Aftermahogany and walnut were very popular.
Moving into the s, maple and cherry showed up in fine furniture manufacture quite often. Many Victorian furniture manufacturers used mahogany and rosewood through the late s. Then, aroundoak became popular again. The type of wood used is not an exact indicator of age, but when you tie in the other factors like style and construction technique, you start to get a better idea of the date of the piece. Original upholstery materials like silk, wool, or cotton were spun and woven into a variety of damasks, satins, and brocades with many different patterns.
Dating antique furniture drawers wide variety of materials and fabric designs were favored for upholstery during different periods. Schwartz is an upholstery guide that can help you decipher the styles that align with furniture periods. Closely review the screws. Screws were not made completely by machine until So if you find a furniture item using screws that have completely rounded shafts, dating meaning ends, and perfectly finished heads with matching cuts much like a screw you would purchase todaythe piece likely dates to the midth century or later.
Screws made from about through the mids were partially machine-made giving the threading a more even appearance. But the heads were still finished with hacksaws to add the groove to fit a screwdriver, so no two are exactly alike. The first screws were crafted during the s by blacksmiths using square nail stock that learn more here heated and pounded until it was somewhat round.
The tips were blunt and each one was unique. If you find these hand-finished screws in furniture, investigate other aspects of the pieces to see if they appear to match the screws in age. One similarly-dated element is brass hardware. Early 18th-century hardware was cast from molten brass using molds made of sand. This hardware often has inclusions or marks left behind by grains of sand or odd colors from impurities.
The backs of the hardware were often left with these pockmarks, while the outward-facing surfaces were polished. Early 19th-century brass also has a rough texture, finish, and threading. From the s up until the Eastlake period during the s, brass hardware fell out of favor in furniture manufacture and was sparsely used.