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How to Date Antique Furniture

Antique Frames - Antiques with Gary Stover

When you want to refinish old wooden furniture, the best place to look is the family storeroom: Check the attic, basement, garage, or wherever unwanted furniture has collected. 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. Antique stores are a good place to find furniture to refinish, but expect to pay for these pieces.

As discussed above, this is especially evident on the back or underside of pieces made prior to the mids. Cuts and nicks can also leave proof that hand chisels and other tools operated with sheer elbow grease were used to shape woods. Manually operated hand saws left a straighter pattern in comparison.

Looking for other signs of age is also wise in addition to indicators of hand craftsmanship.

Clues to Dating Antiques #1

For instance, oak was used in furniture made prior to 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.

How to Identify Antique Wooden Furniture

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.

The tips were blunt in these oldest screws, and each one was unique. If you find these hand finished screws in furniture, investigate other aspects of the pieces to see if they match the screws in age. When gathering this information, however, keep in mind that these records are not always accurate. It is not uncommon for a town history or other records within an historical society to be incorrect regarding dates or family names associated with a given house.

Tackling this chore of dating your antique home is, in many cases, a daunting task, though usually not an insurmountable one. The first thing you need to realize. Are certain were made by studying nails and antiques, reconstructed and 19th century, marriages, antiques. Handles can be tricky. The type and is the. Antique Handle Styles Handmade Furniture, Old Furniture For Sale, Affordable Dating Furniture Designs LEGS & FEET DESIGNS Furniture Makeover.

Even when mistakes have been made, however, the information you retrieve from your local historical society is potentially valuable. It will at the very least serve as a good reference point for your next tier of research: deeds and probate. Though some towns and cities may keep records differently, a common place to have them stored is at the county court house.

Antique dating

Keep in mind that for very old homes, say those built between andthe records can be cumbersome and difficult to read you must bring your most patient and diligent state of mind with you. Indeed, the hand script, condition of the books, and old English style of the language all combine to make research an interesting, if not arduous undertaking. If you are fairly comfortable with the records you have obtained in your first tier of research, you might want to start with the names and dates you came across there.

While this may take some time, especially if the property changed hands often, it is a more reliable way to go about the dating of your historic home. It is unfortunate and ironic that what is perhaps the most reliable method for dating antique structures is also the one least utilized by their owners.

Antique Furniture Dates

The third tier of research is, in fact, the study of the structure itself. While there are professional experts in dating antique structures for hire, you may want to do some of the basics yourself. Though Victorian era and later buildings can also be misdated, it is far less likely given their relatively recent dates of construction.

While books are available that detail what, structurally, you can look for to help you date your home, there are a few basics that might help get you started. First, look at the corner posts they run vertically on your second story where they meet the beams which run horizontally.

If the posts are massive and flare out near the top known as gunstock stylethe house was most likely built before If there is no flare, it was likely built around or later. This is true because prior to about or so depending upon where the house is located the method of construction and erecting a house necessarily involved flaring the posts where they meet the plate horizontal front beam and gable end rafter.

Nor were consular or indictional dates commonly employed in Spain. Only nine late antique inscriptions with consular dates have been found in Spain (dating. So, the first step in narrowing the possible date for your old photograph is to be able to identify 19th century photographs to determine what type you have. Before you refinish antique furniture, it's important to evaluate whether it's worthy of saving. Learn to identify antique furniture for refinishing.

You can uncover another clue by looking at the style of nails used in construction of your house. Being careful to look in each section of your home, study the heads of the nails, paying close attention to what they look like.

How to Determine the Age of Antique Furniture. 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. Examining these elements individually, as well as furniture pieces in their entirety, will help. no indication for a late antique dating Therefore, there are no reasons to deduce a late antique dating of the inscription and the renovation to which it refers. Antique furniture is named by the British period and is influenced by the British Monarch. Dates British Monarch British Period. George II Early Georgian.

You can check the nails used in the floors, but it might be a better determinant to look at those used in the hanging of the lathe strips that were put up to hold the plaster to the walls and ceiling obviously a much easier task if there are already some exposed. If the nails are newer, machine cut nails, chances are it was built during or after that time.

As there are many other things to look for decorated summer beams, interior whitewashing on beams and wall boards, roof overhangs, foundation materials, etc. Important because, while there were exceptions to styles of homes and methods of their construction, technology allowed builders to push the envelope only so far. When push came to shove there were certain barriers as in the cases of corner posts and nails that they could not cross before the technology afforded them that pathway.

So, then, enjoy your old house, cherish it, respect it.

And, if the bug to determine its true date of construction should bite you, take this three-tiered approach to your research. Good luck, and have fun! Richard Wilcox is the curator and Board member of the Malrborough Historical Society and a Realtor specializing in historic property sales.

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