Dating furniture handles

Higher quality furniture may have been made with maple, oak, walnut, cherry, or mahogany.

But because the same woods have always been used to make furniture, workmanship, hardware, tool marks finish, are probably better indicators of age.

Fine antique dealers consider objects 150 years and older to be antique.

So if you work on 100 years old your looking in the right era. Furniture made before 1700 is mostly oak, from 1700 on, mahogany and walnut were widely used.

A scribe line was made by the Cabinet Maker when marking out the dovetail joints, it is not always present by any means but can help to re-inforce an opinion.

We have an extensive selection of vintage drawer and cabinet knobs and pulls for your furniture or cabinet restoration project.

A real antique is not perfectly cut; a reproduction with the same components is, because it was cut by machine. Until Victorian times, shellac was the only clear surface finish; lacquer and varnish were not developed until the mid-1800's.

The finish on a piece made before 1860 is usually shellac; if the piece is very old, it may be oil, wax, or milk paint.

So look for signs of crystallized glue, also loose joints can indicate that reversible glue was originally used.

After 1880 screws were mass produced and have a more uniform look with round heads. Look carefully at the bottom, sides, and back of the drawer; if the wood shows nicks or cuts, it was probably cut with one of the variety of saws used before the introduction of the circular saw around 1840. If the wood shows circular or arc-shaped marks, it was cut by a circular saw, not in general use until 1840 when steam engines came along.

Exact symmetry is another sign that the piece was machine-made.

Always look for worn components in the right places, take your time to check the piece carefully and look for signs of use on the base of the feet, drawer runners, chair rail stretchers and any area of potential wear. Email: [email protected] normal opening hours are Monday To Friday 8.30am - 5.00pm and Saturday 10.00am - 4.00pm.

Are the 'Pin' and the'Tail' a different size and shape from each other, if they are identical then the joint may have been manufactured by an automated process.

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