- This was usually done in laborious fashion with a file.
- McRae has written articles for multiple websites, drawing on her experience in the home improvement industry and hydroponic gardening.
- 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.
- Around a machine was introduced that made screws on a lathe but the War of slowed its distribution and development.
- Up-and-down saws left vertical, crisp uniform marks and were used from to the s.
- Possibly, you have a Federal or American Empire piece.
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The handmade nails of the period derived much of their holding power from the ability to drive the nail through two surfaces and bend it over on the back side, i. 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? Measure the tabletop from top to bottom and from left to right. How to Evaluate Antique Furniture.
How to Tell the Age of Antique Furniture
More than likely, you will discover that you own a later revival piece although it's awfully fun to dream big when you begin your research. Are there nicks from it being banged against walls for many years? Machine made furniture produced largely after will have components that match more perfectly than those made by hand. In the early part of the period, nail-makers cut them by hand from a sheet of iron.
Like restorers of historical buildings, you can identify the period by the technology used to create the nails and unlock the past of furniture. Dovetails have long been a popular method for attaching two pieces of wood at a degree angle often seen in drawer construction. Table legs should be nicked from kicks and the feet flat from being dragged.
While you may not have an example as extreme as that sitting in your garage, you never know what you may unearth as you determine the age and value of your antique. That is what makes this field so exciting for newcomers and veterans alike. But because of their smooth shape, modern nails have less holding power than hand-forged or cut nails.
When the Puzzle Pieces Don't Fit To determine if missing nails were antique or if they have been replaced with modern nails, look closely at the shape of the hole and the color of the wood around it. Look at the nails used in the construction of your piece of furniture. But that solution would not work for securing the top on a chest of drawers or table top without either driving a nail through the top from above or clinching it on the top to hold it fast. Does the type of screw or nail correspond with the era the style of hardware represents?
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This portion of the shaft is almost never totally round or totally smooth. You might want to start with the references below. The introduction in of the completely machine-made gimlet screw, with a tapered shaft and a pointed tip, in situ monazite dating marked the beginning of the modern era in screw production.
But the form used for the screw was a more or less round shallow depression into which the top of the shaft was hammered flat, producing a screw head. Iron ore and carbon heated together and then cooled created wrought iron, from which a nail length piece was cut and hammered on four sides to create a point. How to Identify Antique Dressers. Get Notified of Our Estate Sales Join our email list to receive the latest estate sales dates, addresses, and directions delivered right to your inbox.
How to Date Antique Furniture
But how to manufacture that ramp on that column by hand? Rungs should have discoloration or be worn down where you would place your feet. By the nineteenth century, cabinetmakers were using several smaller dovetails to join together the sides of drawers. The cutting of the shaft should be uneven and the end blunted rather than pointed. These tips will get you started, matchmaking services philadelphia but I encourage you to read and study further.
Years and years of handling and contact with skin oils should leave a patina on both the handles and the surrounding wood. How a piece is constructed is a common measure of age. Real lacquer changes color after time. Looking at the bottom or back of a piece, or inside its doors and drawers, can provide important clues about whether or not a piece of old furniture was machine cut or crafted by hand. You should have a discernible amount of difference between the two measurements.
And the overall shape of the entire screw is cylindrical rather than tapered, as is the case in modern screws. The tips were blunt in these oldest screws, dating spots in austin texas and each one was unique. Examine examples of old screws very carefully and they will provide you with a valuable clue to their origin and perhaps to the origin of the furniture in which they are found.
This is one of the easiest ways to provide a fairly accurate date stamp to any antique. The use of square or oblong wooden pins that held in place by the shrinking of the wood was another joinery technique of that time. Manually operated hand saws left a straighter pattern in comparison. Here are a few tips on how to determine the age of a piece of furniture. Oak joint stools, on the other hand, have been around for five hundred years.
Later, machine did the cutting, but nails were still made one at a time. From the s up until the Eastlake period in the s, brass hardware fell out of favor in furniture manufacture and was sparsely used. Are all the parts original, or have there been replacements and repairs?
When dating a piece of antique furniture, one of the most important clues to its history is often overlooked. Hand-hammered nails, dating from the s or earlier, leave a square hole with an irregular impression at the top from a hammered head. Construction techniques can assist you in dating furniture.
- This can mean that they were handcrafted prior to or so.
- Look for discoloration from hot bowls and spilled liquids on dining tables.
- If you can feel slight, parallel ridges and hollows, the piece was hand planed, probably prior to the midth Century.
Old veneer could not be cut thin. It wasn't until this time that sophisticated jigs and cutters were built to automate this process. We do not sell, share, or otherwise allow others the use of our distribution list. Some popular antiques are quite well documented and may be tied to a specific time period in history making an age determination quite simple. These new machine-made screws also resembled their ancestors in that they were still almost perfectly cylindrical and had a blunt tip.
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This is a big topic to tackle and it will not be possible to cover many details in this short column. When the smith had the length he thought was needed for the job, he simply cut or snipped the threaded shaft. Other brass hardware can be an indicator of age as well. If your piece is seeing this darkening effect, questions about you're safe to assume that the piece is at least years old.
As you examine the piece, sleuth for clues that support your initial theory that you have a piece of authentic period furniture. Tip Listed here are just a few quick tips for determining when a piece of furniture may have been made. Authenticating Antique Furniture.