Some popular antiques are quite well documented and may be tied to a specific time period in history making an age determination quite simple. This is a type of turned foot, consisting of a rounded saucer-shaped top with larger turning in the middle that then narrows to a smaller turned end. Silk, wool, and cotton have been spun and woven into a variety of damasks, satins, and brocades with many different patterns. Feet and chair spindles were also carved individually, so there is no way each one could possibly look identical.
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. If your piece is seeing this darkening effect, you're safe to assume that the piece is at least years old. Dovetails have great strength, holding pieces of wood in perfect alignment over long periods of time.
Antique and Vintage Dressers
Sometimes referenced as a melon foot. But, it is important to determine which type of wood is most prevalent in your antique to help determine the age. The backs of this type of hardware were often left with the impression of the sand while the surfaces were polished.
This type of turned furniture foot, separated from the leg by a ring, is basically cylindrical in shape although it swells out slightly and then tapers down to a plain point. 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. Hand cut dovetails were used to hold the sides of drawers together, but also to join the structural members of case furniture. Simpler country furniture often had larger dovetails, midsummer night dating site or even a single tail and pin.
For thousands of years, a dovetail joint was created by a skilled cabinetmaker using small, precision saws and wood chisels. Cuts and nicks can also leave proof that hand chisels and other tools operated with sheer elbow grease were used to shape woods. It is sometimes called a French bracket foot, in fact. Although the dolphin as decoration dates back to Renaissance furniture, the use specifically in a chair or table feet began around the mids.
This can mean that they were handcrafted prior to or so. This is a furniture foot style in which a simple, flattened oval-shaped block of wood rests on a disk or pad. But, many of the original wood components may have been refinished leaving original paint deep in the wood's pores. Examining these elements individually, as well as furniture pieces in their entirety, will help you learn to correctly date them. Usually has a mitered corner embellishment.
As you examine the piece, sleuth for clues that support your initial theory that you have a piece of authentic period furniture. That is what makes this field so exciting for newcomers and veterans alike. Short and squat examples usually decorate heavy case pieces while more slender examples can be used on chairs as shown.
This over-view of the dovetailing techniques should easily help identification and dating of most furniture from the last years. The type of dovetailed joint, especially in drawers, reveals much about furniture construction and dating. Here is an oak cylinder roll desk from about with keyhole dovetailed drawers. The next technological development in joinery was again American.
Showroom - Frequently Asked Questions. They are sometimes referred to as a Dutch foot or spoon foot. This is a simple, basic furniture foot style with a square or cube-like shape. It is bulb-shaped with a slender neck, usually has a ring on top, and bulges outward before tapering down into a round collar or base. Screws made from about through the mids were partially machine made giving the threading a more even appearance, according to Taylor.
Identifying Antique Furniture Foot Styles
There is some detective work to be done if you want to really ensure that the antique is real, and a qualified inspector should be hired if you're spending any appreciable sum of money. 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? This furniture foot style consists of a tapered cylinder that is separated from the leg by a turned ring. And, realize that those masterpieces are actually few and far between.
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. Determining the age of antiques is half the fun! Fabric that is original on your antique can provide serious clues of its age. Combining this dating process with several other techniques will help you make an accurate age determination.
How to Date Antique Furniture
Use them as a starting point and one possible indicator of age rather than making a conclusion based only on the foot style. The use of hand tools and hand-cut dovetails is now the province of hobbyists and a few small shops creating authentic replicas of antique furniture. It is sometimes referenced as a scrolled bracket foot. Once lacquer hits the century mark it tends to turn quite dark. Dovetails have long been a popular method for attaching two pieces of wood at a degree angle often seen in drawer construction.
Be First to Discover
These are sometimes referenced as tulip feet. It is basically a more squat version of a ball foot, not marriage flattened slightly on top and wider at the bottom. The first screws were crafted in the s by blacksmiths using square nail stock that was heated and pounded until it was somewhat round.
This is one of the easiest ways to provide a fairly accurate date stamp to any antique. Some classics are still being made today. Antique furnishings can tell a story one that may only exist in the imagination of the lucky person acquiring the piece. Dovetail joints often hold two boards together in a box or drawer, almost like interlocking the fingertips of your hands.
How to Identify Antique Dressers
It is usually plain, even if the attached leg is fluted as shown in this example. Steam power, transferred by pulleys and leather belts, operated saws, carving machines and routers that could copy an original pattern exactly. As discussed above, this is especially evident on the back or underside of pieces made prior to the mids. Honing your wood identification skills can really pay off in this area.
Looking at the joinery, or the way a piece of antique furniture is put together, will provide many clues that help in determining the age. Manually operated hand saws left a straighter pattern in comparison. Determining the age of antique furniture is the first step in establishing a proper valuation, as well as verifying that the piece is indeed an authentic furnishing from the era in question.
The presence of brass hardware at all also tells a tale. How to Determine the Age of Antique Furniture. Machine made furniture produced largely after will have components that match more perfectly than those made by hand. This is a rounded, turned furniture foot style in a variation of the bun foot.
Moving into the s, maple and cherry showed up in fine furniture manufacture quite often. Some pieces, like chairs, may have matching dolphin arms and feet. Keep in mind, wood components can be replaced and this may affect your ability to determine the exact age of a piece. It is usually found on heavy case pieces, internet dating auckland nz especially of Germanic or Dutch origin. The most expensive antique furniture piece sold in recent years was a Badminton cabinet that was crafted during the Medici years in Florence.
- Can you circa date solely on the type of wood used?
- 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.
- The earliest examples are from furniture placed with mummies in Egypt thousands of years ago, and also in the burials of ancient Chinese emperors.
- Several good books covering early American furniture history are available online or at local bookstores.
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. Oak is highly popular in furniture that dates from to earlier years. It is a variation of the club foot, distinguished by the underlying disk. As the dovetail joint evolved through the last one hundred thirty years, it becomes a clue for the age and authenticity of antique furniture.
Determine the Age of Antique Furniture
- When the joint is expertly executed, it is a thing of beauty, and a secure joining of two boards that can last for centuries.
- If you think that you have something really valuable on hand, or you just want to make sure that you have the best estimate as to the age of an antique hire an expert!
- It has been widely used since then.
- This foot type has been popular almost continuously, in variations, since it was introduced in the s.
The slow and laborious crafting and carving, one piece at a time, by a master woodworker was not suited to the new mass market. Manufacturers have been stamping their wares for centuries. Author Ken Melchert has taught Art History for many years. It was especially popular, with regional variations, australian military dating in Irish and Philadelphia furniture. This is sometimes called a drake foot.