Dating furniture by joints

Published: 01.06.2017

The Pharaoh's Footstool Egyptian pharaohs were buried with fine furnishings and chests of valuables and rare spices to accompany them to the afterlife. Does the piece have its original hardware? There were few dovetails in each drawer.

Simpler country furniture often had larger dovetails, or even a single tail and pin. A while back, my wife and I were visiting friends who wanted to show us their collection of antique furniture.

The joint he came up with has several colloquial names — scallop and dowel, pin and scallop, half moon — and all describe the new joint, which looks like a peg in a half circle on the side of a drawer. Around , band saws were introduced. On the other hand, machine-cut dovetails definitely establish that the furniture is no older than about , when the dovetail-cutting machine was invented. Dovetails are interlocking carved wood joints used in cabinetry to connect two pieces of wood -- drawer fronts and sides, cabinet or cupboard corners. Our expert has the answers. Since wood is an organic material, it shrinks across the grain with age.

Look for solid wood or plywood backing

A lacquer or varnish finish is a sure sign of later manufacture. Dovetails are interlocking carved wood joints used in cabinetry to connect two pieces of wood -- drawer fronts and sides, cabinet or cupboard corners. The use of square or oblong wooden pins that held in place by the shrinking of the wood was another joinery technique of that time.

Here is an example of an Eastlake chest of drawers with characteristic "spoon" carving and "pin and cove" dovetails from the 's:.

7 Flawless Woodwork Joints That You Can Make Easily

But keep in mind that there are lots of exceptions to these rules, so err on the side of caution. Are all the parts original, or have there been replacements and repairs?

Some progress had been made by the use of jigs to help guide the hand-powered saws in their cutting but essentially the dovetail was the last hold out of hand work in a machine era. The drawer department had finally caught up with the rest of the factory. Construction techniques can assist you in dating furniture.

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