Determining Age in Antique Furniture
Any piece of furniture can be made in an earlier design, but it is only valuable if done in the correct period the style originated. There are certain hidden clue in antique furniture, besides style, that tell you if the piece is authentic.
Woodworking Method in Antique Furniture
Riven — split (not sawn) along the grain. Usually found in 15th to 17th century.
Hand Sawn Timber — course and irregular teeth marks in the wood. Late 16th to 17th century.
Frame Sawn Timber — evenly spaced regular course cut at an angle to the wood grain. 17th to 18th century.
Circular Sawn Timber — concentric arc cuts. 19th to 20 th century.
Pegs and Screws in Antique Furniture
Authentic wood pegs are never round. They should slightly stand up from the wood holding them. 15th to 17th century.
Screws are easily identified by their distinctive designs over the centuries. Be careful removing them not to damage the heads. If they resist, touch a hot soldering iron to the head. First try counter clockwise, then clockwise to budge them.
For valuable antique wood furniture there is also dendrochronology. This is where the tree rings of the wood are compared to known biological charts of both wet and dry seasons. Thick rings were a rainy period; thin rings were a drought. An expert can tell what year the tree was cut.
Just because a piece of antique furniture is old and done in a popular style doesn’t make it valuable. It must have a rich patina finish and pleasing proportions. It takes an expert furniture appraiser to identify these.
If you would like to have one of our antique furniture appraisers evaluate your pieces, please call the office. Often we can do this from photos. Minimum fee is $125.00.
For additional Antique Furniture resources, click any of the below links
Antique Furniture Appraisals
Antique Furniture Styles
Antique Furniture Guide
Antique Appraising Secrets
Antique Furniture Age and Construction