How to Identify Antique Wooden Furniture Easily?

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How to Identify Antique Wooden Furniture Easily?

Modern furniture is produced on a treadmill from the most cost-effective materials. It’s designed to be cheap to purchase, easy to maintain, and cheap to replace a couple of years later. This, however, was not always the case. Centuries ago, buying a furniture piece was a long-term investment. This piece was usually handmade out of quality materials. It is, therefore, no surprise that some of these pieces last until the present day.

However, this is not all that these pieces have to offer. You see, a furniture item belonging to a certain era is a must-have for all those who are trying to pursue this theme. Having at least one such authentic piece in a modern era would mean the world to your home. Still, to achieve this objective, you must first learn how to identify antique wooden furniture. Fortunately, this is not as hard.

1. All the factors to focus on

Simply put, recognizing antique furniture is difficult, and there are not a lot of people who can do it accurately. For instance, while the type of wood used is a strong indicator, you must also pay attention to screws, pommels, nuts used, handles, locks, and drawers. Keep in mind that since antiques are quite valuable, many shady carpenters will try to recreate one of these styles to push it as a “successfully restored” antique. Fortunately, not many of them are as familiar with these antiques, which means that they might get at least one of these factors wrong. Identifying this can save you from a bad investment.

2. The joinery

The sign of machine-cut dovetails is the first thing you need to look at when evaluating if the antique wooden furniture is authentic. Before 1860, almost all dovetails were handmade, which means that if you notice this, chances are that you’re dealing with a far older piece than you originally expected. Now, every style has different joinery. You should look out for the dovetail joint, mortise, and tenon, as well as the dowel joint. Now, keep in mind that these joints aren’t a guarantee that the furniture is antique; they are, however, a strong indicator that this might be the case.

3. Wood finish

Next, you need to check the composition of the finish. Lacquer and varnish, for instance, weren’t used until the mid-1800s. So, if the wood finish dissolves alcohol, it’s probably not predating the Victorian era. Finished used before can only be removed by ammonia. Just keep in mind that not every piece is in prime condition. According to specialists in antique furniture restoration from Sydney, knowing what kind of finish is used is always important for future restoration (even if the piece is not antique). So, this is probably one of the first things you should check.

4. Type of wood

Another great way to tell the age of your furniture is to check the wood type used. For instance, before the 18th century, oak was the dominant material. After that, walnut and mahogany took over as dominant types of wood used for manufacturing luxurious furniture. Other than this, elm, rosewood, and calamander were also used at various points in the past. When you’re dealing with quality wood that’s no longer as common, chances are you’re dealing with the antique.

5. Get familiarized with types and styles

One of the most accurate ways to identify antique wooden furniture is to learn a thing or two about different styles and eras. For instance, you can learn how to tell Regency, Late Colonial, Victorian, and Shaker styles by learning about the wood types used and some basic style traits. Remember, you don’t have to be able to tell exactly the period. As long as you know that it’s antique, you can look for someone’s quote (like a professional carpenter or an antiquarian). Still, it doesn’t make sense to consult anyone before you have your suspicions grounded in something concrete.

6. Tell them apart by feet

Different furniture has different feet; however, some feet patterns are specific to certain eras. For instance, the arrow foot was popular in the early 18th century, while the late 18th century saw the rise of the cylindrical foot style. Once again, this is a crude estimate, but it helps set you on the right track. Also, keep in mind that some of these feet are popularized in historical movies and biopics. This is why some carpenters try to recreate them even today. This makes things more complicated.

7. Current condition

Just because a piece is antique doesn’t mean that it’s priceless. The condition of the piece is incredibly important, seeing as how some pieces from those eras are in such a bad state that they would cost a fortune to get restored. Now, while you may have plans to increase the luxury of your home during your next remodelling process, the truth is that just buying an antique won’t get you there. You need to ensure that it fits the rest of the setting, and to play this role effectively, it needs to be in the right condition.

In conclusion

At the end of the day, improving your home through remodelling is a sound idea on paper. When it comes to execution, it’s the means through which you’re going to achieve this that counts the most. If a part of the plan depends on you recognizing antique wooden furniture, you might want to start doing some research first. Fortunately, the above-listed seven tips are more than enough to get you started.

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Frank Robertson

My name is Frank Robertson. I’m a writer. I choose my topics carefully and try to write about topics that can help my readers.

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