Antique dresser dating, dovetails - a clue for dating antiques - the harp gallery

Collectors Weekly
Tips for Dating Old Pieces Made in America

How to Identify Antique Dressers

Antique and Vintage Dressers

Dovetails have long been a popular method for attaching two pieces of wood at a degree angle often seen in drawer construction. 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. The spade foot style has a rectangular shape that is wide at the top tapering to a narrower base.

Author Ken Melchert has taught Art History for many years. The first screws were crafted in the s by blacksmiths using square nail stock that was heated and pounded until it was somewhat round. The monopodium foot also appears on sofas, chairs and case pieces. If you find these hand finished screws in furniture, dating free investigate other aspects of the pieces to see if they match the screws in age.

Several good books covering early American furniture history are available online or at local bookstores. This lavishly hand-carved cabinet from about shows structural dovetail joints on the back side. Possibly, you have a Federal or American Empire piece.

It is sometimes called a French bracket foot, in fact. Dovetail joints often hold two boards together in a box or drawer, almost like interlocking the fingertips of your hands. Other brass hardware can be an indicator of age as well.

Fabric that is original on your antique can provide serious clues of its age. It is a variation of the club foot, distinguished by the underlying disk. It wasn't until this time that sophisticated jigs and cutters were built to automate this process.

Tiny angled saw cuts were followed by careful cutting by a sharpened chisel on both sides to avoid splintering. This is sometimes called a drake foot. It is basically a more squat version of a ball foot, flattened slightly on top and wider at the bottom.

This is a type of carved furniture foot in the shape of a fish head. This furniture foot style consists of a tapered cylinder that is separated from the leg by a turned ring. It is usually found on heavy case pieces, especially of Germanic or Dutch origin. This foot type has been popular almost continuously, in variations, since it was introduced in the s. This can mean that they were handcrafted prior to or so.

  • Simpler country furniture often had larger dovetails, or even a single tail and pin.
  • The next technological development in joinery was again American.
  • This is a furniture foot style in which a simple, flattened oval-shaped block of wood rests on a disk or pad.
  • Some popular antiques are quite well documented and may be tied to a specific time period in history making an age determination quite simple.

Usually has a mitered corner embellishment. These were cut with a jig or pattern, dating site trinidad and and an apprentice could create a very well fitting and attractive joint. It is usually found on case pieces.

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. Real lacquer changes color after time. Hand cut dovetails were used to hold the sides of drawers together, but also to join the structural members of case furniture.

Antique and Vintage Dressers

Dovetails have great strength, holding pieces of wood in perfect alignment over long periods of time. 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. One of the most basic furniture foot examples, this style named for its actual resemblance to a bracket. Moving into the s, maple and cherry showed up in fine furniture manufacture quite often. The ball foot is one of the earliest, age of dinosaurs carbon most basic types of furniture foot styles.

Identifying Antique Furniture Foot Styles

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. Keep in mind, wood components can be replaced and this may affect your ability to determine the exact age of a piece. It has been widely used since then.

Examining these elements individually, as well as furniture pieces in their entirety, will help you learn to correctly date them. Glues of the period sometimes weakened. It is sometimes called a knurl toe.

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Sometimes referenced as a melon foot. This is one of the quickest and most definitive ways to accurately determine the age of an antique piece of furniture. 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. These are sometimes referenced as tulip feet.

Feet and chair spindles were also carved individually, so there is no way each one could possibly look identical. When hand planes were used to smooth woods, they more often than not left some sort of uneven surface. Antique furnishings can tell a story one that may only exist in the imagination of the lucky person acquiring the piece.

How to Determine the Age of Antique Furniture

  1. 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.
  2. Once lacquer hits the century mark it tends to turn quite dark.
  3. 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.
  4. Examples featuring a metal claw gripping a glass ball are also common, especially in occasional tables and stools.
  5. Sheep Collection purchases are excluded.
  6. And, realize that those masterpieces are actually few and far between.

Steam power, transferred by pulleys and leather belts, operated saws, carving machines and routers that could copy an original pattern exactly. How to Determine the Age of Antique Furniture. Silk, wool, and cotton have been spun and woven into a variety of damasks, satins, and brocades with many different patterns. It is usually plain, even if the attached leg is fluted as shown in this example.

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This over-view of the dovetailing techniques should easily help identification and dating of most furniture from the last years. Machine made furniture produced largely after will have components that match more perfectly than those made by hand. This is a simple, basic furniture foot style with a square or cube-like shape. But, many of the original wood components may have been refinished leaving original paint deep in the wood's pores. Manually operated hand saws left a straighter pattern in comparison.

This is one of the easiest ways to provide a fairly accurate date stamp to any antique. These are an often overlooked method of determining the age of an antique the builder is telling you when it was constructed! Determining the age of antiques is half the fun! Combining this dating process with several other techniques will help you make an accurate age determination. The type of dovetailed joint, especially in drawers, reveals much about furniture construction and dating.

Dovetails - A Clue for Dating Antiques - The Harp Gallery

How to Identify Antique Dressers

Determine the Age of Antique Furniture

Although the dolphin as decoration dates back to Renaissance furniture, the use specifically in a chair or table feet began around the mids. They are sometimes referred to as a Dutch foot or spoon foot. Honing your wood identification skills can really pay off in this area. Some pieces, like chairs, may have matching dolphin arms and feet. Hand made screws and nails were relatively expensive and could rust and expand, app sometimes cracking the wood they secured.

It is not a solid carved piece but created by applying pieces of wood to the bottom of a square, tapered leg. 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. It is sometimes referenced as a scrolled bracket foot.

The presence of brass hardware at all also tells a tale. 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? There was resistance - in England, carpenters unions went on strike over the use of electric saws, fearing the end of their livelihoods. The backs of this type of hardware were often left with the impression of the sand while the surfaces were polished.

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