Dating furniture legs

07 Mar

The type of dovetailed joint, especially in drawers, reveals much about furniture construction and dating.With just a little study of these examples, it is easy to spot true hand made construction vs. The name dovetail comes from the appearance of the joint, resembling the triangle shape of a bird's tail.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.Real antiques and many reproductions are extremely valuable, but there are also many imitations.

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If you're interested in antiques, recent or old, research before you buy anything. It's easy to spot an antique by the drawers, because joints weren't machine-cut until about 1860.If it has only a few dovetail joints, with pins narrower than the dovetails, then the joint was made by hand.The earliest examples are from furniture placed with mummies in Egypt thousands of years ago, and also in the burials of ancient Chinese emperors.For thousands of years, a dovetail joint was created by a skilled cabinetmaker using small, precision saws and wood chisels.William and Mary, 1690-1730: The style is named for the English King William of Orange and his consort, Mary.New colonists in America brought their English furniture traditions with them and tried to translate these styles using native woods. 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. Turnings are baluster-shaped and the use of C-scrolls was quite common.Tiny angled saw cuts were followed by careful cutting by a sharpened chisel on both sides to avoid splintering.One board had tiny tails, and the other had the larger pins, carefully measured to match and fit together exactly.When you want to refinish old wooden furniture, the best place to look is the family storeroom: Check the attic, basement, garage, or wherever unwanted furniture has collected.You may also discover a real antique or two -- pieces handed down through the family for generations.