Dating antique furniture drawers
“The basic rule of thumb is, if the piece was made before 1850, you want to do some homework on whether it should be conserved rather than restored—meaning to preserve and stabilize the piece as it is now,” she says.“If it’s been in the family a while, it’s worth finding out before you do some damage.” To muddy the waters a bit, there are some more recent pieces by prominent makers—for example, from the Art Deco and Arts and Crafts periods (shown in the photo below) — that command high prices and shouldn’t be touched.A single piece of antique furniture is more than a collection of nails, boards, and wood stain.Antique furnishings can tell a story one that may only exist in the imagination of the lucky person acquiring the piece. This is a big topic to tackle and it will not be possible to cover many details in this short column. Oak joint stools, on the other hand, have been around for five hundred years. Game or card tables did not exist in great numbers until the end of the 17th Century.It is a five sided box that must fit perfectly within a case (a six-sided box) and be removable on demand without binding or breaking either the drawer or the case.
The concept of the modern chest of drawers as we know it, a case containing a series of more or less matching drawers, became a reality in the latter part of the 17th century.
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.
Until then, following these steps will help you determine an approximate age of nearly any piece of antique furniture: These less obvious areas of the antique will provide clues as to whether the wooden components were cut using traditional methods like handsaws and planes, or whether the pieces were crafted using modern power tools.
Tool marks and obvious signs of rough cuts are fairly typical with pieces more than 150 years old.
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.