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How to Identify Antique Wooden Furniture: Tips . HowStuffWorks

Ways to Identify Genuine Antique Wood Furniture

Looking at the joinery, or the way a piece of antique furniture is put together, will provide many clues that help in determining the age. But there are a number of other factors to consider as well, including the tools that were used to craft a piece and what the individual components look like. Examining these elements individually, as well as furniture pieces in their entirety, will help you learn to correctly date them. Looking at the bottom or back of a piece, or inside its doors and drawers, can provide important clues about whether or not a piece of old furniture was machine cut or crafted by hand. Most handmade pieces will show some irregularities to the surface such as minor nicks indicative of a hand plane being used to smooth out the wood, and this is sometimes even more evident on the back than on the finished front surfaces.

Examining these elements individually, as well as furniture pieces in their entirety, will help you learn to correctly date them. Looking at the bottom or back of a piece, or inside its doors and drawers, can provide important clues about whether or not a piece of old furniture was machine cut or crafted by hand.

Most handmade pieces will show some irregularities to the surface such as minor nicks indicative of a hand plane being used to smooth out the wood, and this is sometimes even more evident on the back than on the finished front surfaces.

This can mean that they were handcrafted prior to or so. Machine made furniture produced largely after will have components that match more perfectly than those made by hand. The reason? When hand planes were used to smooth woods, they more often than not left some sort of uneven surface. As discussed above, this is especially evident on the back or underside of pieces made prior to the mids.

English Antique Furniture organized by period. Browse a variety of periods to find the antique from your desired time period.

Cuts and nicks can also leave proof that hand chisels and other tools operated with sheer elbow grease were used to shape woods. Manually operated hand saws left a straighter pattern in comparison. Looking for other signs of age is also wise in addition to indicators of hand craftsmanship. For instance, oak was used in furniture made prior to Aftermahogany and walnut were very popular.

Their furniture was practical and sturdy. Lines of this furniture style tend to be crisp, while facades might be decorated with bold grains of walnut or maple veneers, framed by inlaid bands.

Moldings and turnings are exaggerated in size. Turnings are baluster-shaped and the use of C-scrolls was quite common.

Feet found in this period generally are round or oval. One exception to this is known as the Spanish foot, which flares to a scroll.

Antique Furniture – Dates

Woods tend to be maple, walnut, white pine or southern yellow pine. This style of furniture is much more delicate than its predecessor.

It was one way for the young Colonists to show their own unique style, with each regional area initiating special design elements. Forms tend to be attenuated in New England. Chair rails were more often mortised through the back legs when made in Philadelphia.

New England furniture makers preferred pad feet, while the makers in Philadelphia used triffid feet. Makers in Connecticut and New York often preferred slipper and claw and ball feet. The most popular woods were walnut, poplar, cherry, and maple. Japanned decoration tends to be in red, green and gilt, often on a blue-green field. A new furniture form of this period was the tilting tea table. This book gave cabinetmakers real direction and they soon eagerly copied the styles presented.

Chippendale was influenced by ancient cultures, such as the Romans, and Gothic influences. Look for Gothic arches, Chinese fretwork, columns, capitals, C-scrolls, S-scrolls, ribbons, flowers, leaves, scallop shells, gadrooning and acanthus leaves.

The most popular wood used in this period was mahogany, with walnut, maple and cherry also present. Legs become straight and regional differences still existed in design elements, such as feet. Claw and ball feet become even larger and more decorative. Pennsylvania cabinetmakers used Marlborough feet, while other regions favored ogee bracket feet. One of the most popular forms of this period was a card table that sported five legs instead of the four of Queen Anne designs.

Federal HepplewhiteThis period reflects the growing patriotism felt in the young American states. Their desire to develop their own distinctive furniture style was apparent. Stylistically it also reflects the architectural style known as Federal, where balance and symmetry were extremely important.

Wingate, Augusta, No. Woods used during this period were mahogany and mahogany veneer, but other native woods, such as maple, birch or satinwood, were used.

Determining the date of old furniture pieces can be tricky. Learn how to look at construction and How to Determine the Age of Antique Furniture. Tips for Dating Old Pieces Made in . 12 Periods of American Furniture. Antique furniture is named by the British period and is influenced by the British Monarch. Here is a list of dates –. Dates – British Monarch. Furniture Periods & British Monarchs. Have you ever wondered just what George II or Chippendale period actually mean. Many dealers and enthusiasts refer to.

Reflecting the architectural ornamentation of the period, inlays were popular, as was carving and even painted highlights. The motifs used for inlay included bellflowers, urns, festoons, acanthus leaves and pilasters, to name but a few. Inlaid bands and lines were also popular and often used in combination with other inlay. Legs of this period tend to be straight or tapered to the foot.

The foot might be a simple extension of the leg, or bulbous or spade shaped. Two new furniture forms were created in this period. They are the sideboard and the worktable. Expect to find a little more comfort in chairs and sofas, but not very thick cushions or seats.

Aug 24, Style Periods and Dates. Collectors Guide To Antique Furniture Styles: Custom Doors, Gates, Furniture, Pool . How to date dovetail drawers. Antique furniture periods and dating on AW Antiques and Collectibles. To help understand what defines each period of antique furniture styles, here are some of the major design elements for each style.

When a piece of furniture is made in England, or styled after an English example, it may be known as Hepplewhite. The time frame is the same.

Robert Adam is credited with creating the style known as Hepplewhite during the s and leading the form. Another English book heavily influenced the designers of the day. Sheraton, The style known as Sheraton closely resembles Federal. The lines are somewhat straighter and the designs plainer than Federal. Sheraton pieces are more closely associated with rural cabinetmakers.

Woods would include mahogany, mahogany veneer, maple and pine, as well as other native woods. Empire ClassicalBy the beginning of the 19th century, a new design style was emerging.

Known as Empire, it had an emphasis on the classical world of Greece, Egypt and other ancient European influences. The American craftsmen began to incorporate more flowing patriotic motifs, such as eagles with spread wings.

The basic wood used in the Empire period was mahogany. However, during this period, dark woods were so favored that often mahogany was painted black. Inlays were popular when made of ebony or maple veneer. The dark woods offset gilt highlights, as were the brass ormolu mountings often found in this period. The legs of this period are substantial and more flowing than those found in the Federal or Sheraton periods.

Regional differences in this style are very apparent, with New York City being the center of the design style, as it was also the center of fashion at the time. Mahogany and rosewood were the most popular woods to produce imposing furniture with plenty of curves, rounded corners and elaborate decorations.

The furniture was solidly built, well constructed and the wood generally unvarnished.

Antique furniture periods and dating

Renowned cabinet makers Morris and Co became producing simple designed cabinets and sideboards which were painted with scenes of medieval fantasy. Iron began to make its appearance in the early Victorian age, particularly in bedroom furniture.

Early Victorian furniture followed the Regency trend of curved backs and some scrolled decorations.

Popular British furniture movements and their approximate date ranges Furniture of the period was decorated with floral marquetry, walnut, and Left: William and Mary Burl Walnut Chest, 17th century at M.S. Rau Antiques. Style period definition for Antiques and Collectibles . While the magazine was filled with plans for up-to-date pieces that would look at home on the set of “Mad. Before you refinish antique furniture, it's important to evaluate whether it's worthy of saving. Learn to identify The finish on the wood can also date the piece.

However, the clean Grecian lines of the Regency period were out of favour by when everyone wanted furniture that was showier with plenty of curves. Mid Victorian furniture was more, shiny with upholstery becoming a main factor in design and as comfort became more important, easy chairs, sofas and dining chairs with padded seats were introduced. In the late Victorian times, England witnesses the rise of the art nouveau movement in design with furniture design pioneered by Charles Ronnie Mackintosh and Hugh Baillie Scott.

It was mainly reproductions of older styles which were mass produced as machinery was used in full force. Cabinet makers realized that earlier designs were outselling new pieces as second hand antique furniture became very fashionable.

Furniture Periods & British Monarchs

Art Nouveau furniture remained in high demand with people liking the curving, elongated lines and leaf and flower motifs. The Chippendale and Heplewhite styles were also very popular. The Craftsmanship of this era was extremely good and some of the earlier designs were adapted to suit modern living and to make them more comfortable.

Mahogany continued to be popular but walnut, satinwood and oak began to be introduced.

Antique Furniture English Lowboy Circa 1745.

Most dovetail joints were now cut by machine and most pieces were veneered.

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