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  • 09.01.2019
  • by Mikami

How to Date Antique Furniture

Dovetail vs. Peg Construction in Antique Furniture : Antique Furniture Care

A while back, my wife and I were visiting friends who wanted to show us their collection of antique furniture. At one point we went into their bedroom and I headed directly for a very old-looking chest-of-drawers. Construction Drawer construction has changed several times in the last years. Simply pull a drawer out a few inches, glance at the joinery on the side and feel the drawer bottom underneath essentially a single motion. In addition, the wood used for the drawer sides and bottoms helps determine whether the furniture is American or European.

Through-dovetailed cabinet interior drawer with minimal lands. Cockbeaded drawer with narrow lands between the dovetails.

Antique Furniture, Antique dresser Chest of Drawers

Note the side cockbeads do not cover the entire dovetail joinery, as to do so, would reduce the thickness of the already thin drawer sides at a crucial juncture. Mahogany-veneered and cockbeaded oak drawer. By comparison, at the backs of drawers, coarser through-dovetails were generally employed from their inception in the late seventeenth-century and throughout the eighteenth-century.

It is monotonously opined that the appearance of these drawer front dovetails with ever narrower lands between the sockets is to be preferred over more coarsely configured examples and that their execution is a mark of superior eighteenth-century craftsmanship attained by a coterie of London cabinetmakers.

They are certainly indicative of their creator being a cabinetmaker of some merit though once sawing dovetails has been mastered, their spacing presents little challenge ; however, the notion completely ignores their true objective. Were these carefully considered dovetails created purely for their appearance, how can one explain overshot saw cuts and figure 17 above on a large percentage of fine eighteenth-century furniture? The cognizance and practice of this refinement in dovetailing was widespread due in part to the long established tradition of journeymen cabinetmakersnot only in the capitals of England, Ireland and Scotland, but in major provincial centres too, where many exceptional cabinetmakers plied their trade.

Like Like. I was happy to see the link to the post on the word wainscot, which had bugged me for a while. What a lot of trade history and confusion in one word.

Just to piggy back onto this subject; Are Wainscot chairs named after the oak used to make them vs a style? Yes, the imported oak timber itself and chairs etc. Another tidbit of knowledge. Thank you for the very informative post.

Drawers Date Furniture

This is the first reasonable explanation I have heard regarding pin size I have ever heard. If I may, after reading your blog for a while, I feel not only better informed, but wizer as well. Thank you. Just out of curiosity, is the top item in the Fig.

Dating furniture by drawer construction

Plain wainscot chest of drawers, a pull out tray of some sort? Not sure what the use of that would be. The idea goes that you pull the slide out to brush your coat and trousers on before donning them assuming the top of the chest was cluttered with stuff.

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. Determining the date of old furniture pieces can be tricky. Learn how to look at construction and components that provide useful dating clues. or inside its doors and drawers, can provide important clues about whether or not. Chart for drawer detail Furniture Styles, Antique Furniture, Upcycled Furniture .. Whether I'm building my own or considering purchasing miniature furniture and.

Pingback: French Mustard Pegs and 'Tails. Is it safe to assume that larger dovetailing not machined is consistent with early 18th and late 17th century furniture?

Coarse dovetails are a fair indication of early manufacture. Later provincial case work can incorporate large dovetails too, though many other indicators would differentiate the two. Pingback: Where are the Pins? Pegs and 'Tails. I lectured on the subject of antiques from 76 till 95 and I am glad to have read this page. I was prompted to seek its info, when someone wrongly dated a chest as Charles II, when it was obviously post It makes a nice change to see that someone knows what it is all about.

There are far too many idiots in the antique trade. Bravo Jack. You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Google account. You are commenting using your Twitter account.

Lapped and nailed oak drawer construction, circa With late seventeenth- century case furniture, the ratio of drawer front end-grain to. 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. A drawer is a fairly difficult thing to build when you get right down to it. Check the drawers for the first sign of age on antique furniture. By: Fred.

From the mid 19th century to the beginning of the 20th century a series of experimental, machine made drawer joints appeared, including the Knapp joint and the finger joint but the winner was the machine made dovetail joint.

This machine made joint features a series of identical dovetails cut in the drawer front and side and the cuts run the entire depth of the drawer side. So what does all this tell us about the age of a piece? If we find a handmade dovetail joint with only one or two dovetails does it mean we found an early 18th century piece? A good craftsman can still be found to make hand made joints.

How to Determine the Age of Antique Furniture

It means that we have motivation to keep looking for other clues to confirm a date. On the other hand, if we find a machine made dovetail joint we know with pretty good assurance that it was made in the 20th century and our search for antiquity is over.

Send your comments, questions and pictures to Fred Taylor, P.

If you were making lots and lots of drawers, an ounce of stain saved on every drawer They are making an antique or piece of furniture meant to look antique. Over the years of working on hundreds of pieces of antique furniture, Drawer construction has changed several times in the last years.

BoxCrystal River, FL or info furnituredetective. 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 very popular again. Can you circa date solely on the type of wood used? Absolutely not.

Honing your wood identification skills can really pay off in this area. Silk, wool, and cotton have been spun and woven into a variety of damasks, satins, and brocades with many different patterns.

Schwartz now out of print, but available through used booksellers for more clues about fabric designs used at different periods in furniture history. So if you find a furniture item using screws that have completely rounded shafts, pointed 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, according to Taylor.

But the heads were still finished with hacksaws to add the groove to fit a screwdriver like those made even earlier, so no two are exactly alike. The first screws were crafted in the s by blacksmiths using square nail stock that was heated and pounded until it was somewhat round.

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