How to Identify Antique Wooden Furniture: Tips | HowStuffWorks
Explore oak tables and other rare antique tables for sale from top dealers at Online Galleries, the UK's number one source of antiques. Antique Leg Styles -- These Diagrams Are Everything You Need To .. Furniture details, Cabriole Leg on tables/chairs How to date dovetail drawers. Determining the date of old furniture pieces can be tricky. Consult a book with a upholstery guide like American Furniture: Tables, Chairs, Sofas & Beds by.
You may also discover a real antique or two -- pieces handed down through the family for generations.
Other good sources are secondhand stores, household auctions, and garage sales. With furniture, as with anything else, one person's junk is another another's treasure.
How to Determine the Age of Antique Furniture
Antique stores are a good place to find furniture to refinish, but expect to pay for these pieces. If you're interested in antiques, recent or old, research before you buy anything.
Real antiques and many reproductions are extremely valuable, but there are also many imitations.Establishing The Age Of An Antique Chair
If you aren't sure an antique is really antique, pay for an expert opinion. Never buy an antique, or try to refinish it, until you know what you have. In this article, we'll discuss how to assess whether a piece of furniture is an antique and whether it is worth saving through the refinishing process. When is Old an Antique? There are many different styles of furniture, and each type has distinguishing features.
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. The basic English and American styles run the gamut from ornate to severely functional, from massive to delicate. Just remember, if you like it, the style is right.
Technically, an antique is a piece of furniture with special value because of its age, particularly those pieces embellished with fine artistry. The age factor is subjective: Fine antique dealers consider objects years and older to be antique. In the East, an antique is Queen Anne or earlier; in the West, it's any piece of furniture that came across the mountains in a wagon.
A southern antique is a piece made before the Civil War. Wherever you look, it's a sure bet that you won't find a genuine antique from or What you may find is a genuine reproduction, and these can be extremely valuable. There are several ways you can spot an antique. The first giveaway is the joinery; machine-cut furniture wasn't made until about If the piece has drawers, remove a drawer and look closely where the front and back of the drawer are fastened to the sides of the drawer.
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If a joint was dovetailed by hand, it has only a few dovetails, and they aren't exactly even; if it has closely spaced, precisely cut dovetails, it was machine-cut. While it is possible that an owner replaced the knobs on an antique with more modern units, you'll most likely be able to tell.
Check the fabric Fabric that is original on your antique can provide serious clues of its age. Online searches for original pictures of your antique can help you match your fabric design to the appropriate era. Don't leave it up to an educated guess consult a guide that is designed to help you determine the age of your piece.
Check the wood for type and cut: Oak, mahogany, cherry, and walnut are all popular hardwoods that have been used in antique furniture.
But, it is important to determine which type of wood is most prevalent in your antique to help determine the age. Oak is highly popular in furniture that dates from to earlier years. Walnut and mahogany were prevalent between the years toand maple and cherry were common from — Oak enjoyed another years of popularity from to the turn of the 21st century.
Keep in mind, wood components can be replaced and this may affect your ability to determine the exact age of a piece. But, many of the original wood components may have been refinished leaving original paint deep in the wood's pores.
An analysis of these pores with a Jeweler's loop can help you determine if the wood was painted, and if so do all of the individual components of the antique furniture match in age?
Inspect the screws or nails to help determine age: Screws that look like modern variations that you'd find in the local home improvement store have no place on antiques that date from before circa In fact, screws in general didn't really come into vogue until the turn of the 20th century.
The first machine made screw was produced inso anything that uses a complete set of screws that appear to be machine turned will most likely date from circa and later. Screws that appear handmade and quite individual most likely help date the piece from the early 's to the mid to late 's. Check the date and manufacturer's stamp: Manufacturers have been stamping their wares for centuries. Look for authentically worn or distressed stamps or manufacturer burn marks.
These are an often overlooked method of determining the age of an antique the builder is telling you when it was constructed! Many fakes list a full address for the builder, including 5-digit zip codes. The problem is, 5-digit zip codes have only been around for about fifty years! Lacquer has been applied to wood furniture for centuries, and if the piece you're inspecting claims to have the original finish, you may be able to date the piece quite easily.
Real lacquer changes color after time. Once lacquer hits the century mark it tends to turn quite dark. If your piece is seeing this darkening effect, you're safe to assume that the piece is at least years old. Combining this dating process with several other techniques will help you make an accurate age determination.