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.
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.
If you have a worn old dresser or rickety heirloom chair on your hands, you may be thinking of refinishing it yourself.
Older mass-produced pieces whose origins fall somewhere between 18 are ideal candidates for refinishing.
Some popular antiques are quite well documented and may be tied to a specific time period in history making an age determination quite simple. Adding to the complexity is the proliferation of copycat builders and modern furniture craftsmen who do an admirable job of cloning authentic antique furniture right down to the tool marks and date stamps.
Determining the age of antique furniture is the first step in establishing a proper valuation, as well as verifying that the piece is indeed an authentic furnishing from the era in question.
Game or card tables did not exist in great numbers until the end of the 17th Century.Of course single drawers and combinations of drawers were made earlier but appeared usually as an adjunct to the lift top or dower chest which was the most common chest type in the that century.The most common storage facility of the era was the cupboard or court cupboard consisting of open shelves below doors which concealed more shelves.“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.