Authenticating, Fakes and Frauds of Period Furniture

Spray-painting gets the job done really fast, often in under 10 minutes. And compared to regular paint, it dries quickly, and you won’t be dealing with any telltale brushstroke marks. Once you master the art of spray-painting, you can flip any object, and you can do so without breaking the bank. Thrift stores and garage sales are overflowing with well-made furniture with great lines that just needs a little TLC. In addition, some of your own older pieces can become favorites with a new coat of color. A can of paint and a paintbrush may seem like the way to go, but you’ll end up with brushstrokes and likely be stuck doing multiple coats. How to pick the perfect paint color every time Step 1:

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Furniture Something has been bothering me. For the past couple of decades, there has been a drastic increase in the percentage of consumer furniture and goods manufactured using a material known as MDF. It is an acronym for Medium Density Fiberboard. Cutting, sanding, or releasing particles of MDF into the air might be a high risk and should be avoided.

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WPatrickEdwards A traditional furniture conservator, restorer and maker discusses his life experiences and his philosophy of work. If you love marquetry this is the place to discuss it. All work is done with hand tools and organic traditional materials and methods. I have worked very hard to pass on the “secrets” of the trade as they have been entrusted to me by many wonderful teachers. I am saddened that my mentors have passed on and I only have the memories of time spent at their feet. Now it is my turn.

I firmly believe that if you leave this earth before you give away the lessons you have learned that it is a crime. Since I was raised as a scientist in my early years, I believe in sharing all knowledge.

Furniture Detective: Screws give valuable clues when in search of antique furniture origins

However, learning a few basic tips and tricks used by experienced antique collectors and dealers will give even a novice collector the general knowledge needed to identify a piece of antique furniture. Tips for Identifying Antique Furniture There are several things to look for when examining a piece of furniture that help to identify it as an antique.

Check for a signature or label from the furniture maker. Make sure the piece is in proportion. For example, if the legs of the piece seem to be the wrong size or the top of the piece is out of balance with the lower portion, it is possible the furniture is a marriage.

Wide range of fixings, connectors, screws, nuts, bolts and caps, designed for use in furniture assembly, kitchen cabinets, flat pack furniture and shop fitting. Suitable for use with wood, man-made panels and other materials, and available in a range of finishes.

Screws are relative newcomers to the production of furniture primarily because they are so hard to make by hand. But as the complexity and sophistication of furniture increased in the late 17th century and the use of brass hardware, locks and concealed hinges became more popular, there was an obvious need for a fastener that could hold two surfaces together without having to penetrate the back surface of the second piece.

The screw on the left was handmade in the late 18th century. Note the flat spot on the shaft, the irregular threads, blunt tip and the off center slot. The screw in the center is machine made around It has sharp, even threads, a cylindrical shape, blunt end and the slot is still off center. The screw on the right is a modern gimlet screw, post , with tapered shaft, even threads, pointed tip and centered slot. The handmade nails of the period derived much of their holding power from the ability to drive the nail through two surfaces and bend it over on the backside, i.

But that solution would not work for securing the top on a chest of drawers or table top without either driving a nail through the top from above or clinching it on the top to hold it fast.

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The stylistic techniques used to date formal furniture such as Chippendale and Hepplewhite simply does not work for American country and primitive furniture. Country furniture does have its styles based predominately on religion and region. The catholic French and the Irish built cupboards with bold moldings, cut out feet, raised panels and they painted their cupboards in bright colors. The puritan New England cabinetmakers built simple unadorned cupboards painted in drab colors.

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By Bob Flexner Pages A while back, my wife and I were visiting friends who wanted to show us their collection of antique furniture. At one point we went into their bedroom and I headed directly for a very old-looking chest-of-drawers. I just wanted to date the piece by how the drawer was made. Construction Drawer construction has changed several times in the last years. Simply pull a drawer out a few inches, glance at the joinery on the side and feel the drawer bottom underneath — essentially a single motion.

In addition, the wood used for the drawer sides and bottoms helps determine whether the furniture is American or European. How a drawer is constructed and the woods used is revealing, but there are two important caveats. First, dating furniture is a fine art. Seldom does one clue provide confirmation of anything. Also important are style including hardware , shrinkage, nails, screws, locks, the primary and secondary woods used, the type of finish, tell-tale tool marks, areas of wear and general appearance.

Any technique or machine that was once used could still be used, and often is used, for example, by many readers of this magazine who build reproduction furniture.

WPatrickEdwards

An Antique Chest of Drawers or any Georgian furniture are well designed pieces and are built to a very high standard. They are made using good quality woods such as mahogany and oak and the screws were made by hand. The style of English Georgian furniture was mostly plain and simple and had a similarity to the architectural lines of buildings.

It covers types of joinery found in furniture, antique and modern fasteners such as nails and screws, veneering techniques and much more. Filmed in a noted antique shop and in their restoration shop, the Taylors use actual examples from the shop and their own collection augmented by professional illustrations and photos.

The original furniture was constructed in the American colonies before the American Revolution ended, dating it from approximately the late 17th century to However, it represents a mix of European styles of furniture including Queen Anne, Georgian, Hepplewhite, Sheraton and many others. It was the blending of the European influences with hardy colony practicality that created the distinctiveness of colonial furniture. After all, the colonists were mostly from Europe, so they brought their furniture and European preferences with them.

In fact, in some cases people would arrive in the colonies with their European furniture also. There are three main reasons that colonial furniture began to take on a style of its own. First, there were different types of wood available in the New World compared to the wood available in Europe. Second, the colonists began to see themselves as a distinct nation and thus developed their own symbols and icons that had meaning only to them, influencing furniture and hardware shapes and styles.

Dating Furniture Using Dovetail Joints

Stubby screwdrivers, different sizes and configurations Tack lifter, wide putty knife, sharp knife and long nose pliers Rare earth magnet, writing utensils and pad Envelopes or very small plastic bags for any samples Black light, telescoping mirror, and a halogen torch Camera in your phone

Furniture Detective: Screws give valuable clues when in search of antique furniture origins By: Fred Taylor | October 18, One of the most overlooked and least understood clues in establishing the date and authenticity of older and antique furniture is the story that screws can tell about the history of a piece.

A nail may not be a noticeable style feature, but looking at them carefully can help you authenticate the age of a primitive or antique furniture piece before you buy. Like restorers of historical buildings, you can identify the period by the technology used to create the nails and unlock the past of furniture. Hand-wrought Until the 18th century, nail production methods had not changed for hundreds of years. Iron ore and carbon heated together and then cooled created wrought iron, from which a nail length piece was cut and hammered on four sides to create a point.

Hand-wrought nails have tapered but irregular and crooked square shafts. These nails have heads known as rose heads, a faceted and shallow pyramid-shaped design created from four blows of an ironsmith’s hammer. Cut but Not Perfect Between the end of the 18th and the end of the 19th centuries, nails were cut into shape.

Why I Avoid MDF and Furniture Built with MDF (and Think You Should, Too)

A bit of research about the origins of the item can help you date it easily. Read on to learn how to date antique furniture. Speak to family members about the provenance, or history, of your antique furniture if you have inherited it. Determine how many generations back you can track the item, which will give you an approximate time period with which to start.

As the dovetail joint evolved through the last one hundred thirty years, it becomes a clue for the age and authenticity of antique furniture. The type of dovetailed joint, especially in drawers, reveals much about furniture construction and dating.

Furniture Handle Styles More than just a functional device, drawer and cupboard handles or knobs can provide both a decorative fillip to a piece of furniture and useful clues in dating it. The earliest forms of furniture didn’t really need handles and it wasn’t until drawers came into general use in the 17th century that handles became a decorative element in a piece of furniture. The metal mounts on imported Chinese furniture were an inspiration, and ca ly handles were usually made of cast brass.

Much about the date of a handle can be learned from the material itself, as well as the way it’s shaped. Brass made before often had an unattractive, pitted look. From that date, lead was added to the mix of copper and calamine to produce a metal with a softer feel. It’s less shiny, and more yellow than brass made after around In that year, James Emerson patented an alloy of copper and pure zinc, which, because of its closer resemblance to gold and the lack of pitting, soon became the standard form of brass.

The first metal handles, though, used in the early and mid th century, tended to be made of iron and were shaped like inverted hearts. These were still being used on country furniture in the 18th century, but on better pieces were supplanted by drops, usually teardrop-shaped lumps of solid brass that were hinged to a backplate at their narrow end.

Clues to Dating Antiques #2