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The general look of a piece of furniture can tell an expert whether it is old or not, but this is a matter of experience. If you are interested in old furniture, see as many genuine antique pieces as you can. Go to museums where you are certain of the authenticity of the articles. Your eye and mind can be trained to recognize whether the appearance of a piece is an authentic antique or not.
Look at furniture in good light. If possible, take the piece outside. Condition is important; look at the entire piece - the legs, inside, bottom, top and back, including the cornice or pediment. Remove all drawers; check the drawer runners. The inside condition will reveal repairs, remodeling and changes. Ask the owner to point out any known repairs.
Old furniture shrinks, because wood is 80 to 90 percent water. Therefore a round table may no longer be symmetrically round. Drawers may no longer fit perfectly. Inlays will show shrinkage.
Early dovetails were not carbon copies of each other. Later dovetails have identical and uniform shapes. Dovetails can be seen on ancient Egyptian pieces. We still use them today.
Dirty furniture looks older than clean furniture, but old dirt and wax built-up in crevices and cracks are a good sign of age. If it has a pristine appearance, look again more closely.
Check to see if casters have been removed; if so, the value is less. Check the feet carefully for damage. I saw a chest with 40% of it's feet cut off to lower it for a shorter person. This makes it beyond restoration, and the price should reflect this drastically.
If the finish underneath the mount (pull) is identical to the outside, it has recently been refinished.
Signs of wear should be in proper places. This is important! Otherwise, suspect replacements.
Splotches of stain are a warning; check the area very carefully, inside and out.
Holes that serve no purpose indicate a substitute piece. A small knitting needle serves me well. A collector does a lot of crawling under tables and into case pieces.
Don't be afraid to give a little shake to a chair, etageres or hall trees; you want solid, not wiggly, furniture.
As part of your tools to help determine if a piece of furniture is an authentic antique, carry a flashlight and tape measure. Look closely at any screws; early screws are one-half-inch or shorter and have flat heads, flat tips and unseen threads. Tips remained blunt up until 1850, after which screw tips were pointed. Older screws are difficult to turn, and may be rusted in place. Beware of loose screws. Also, the slot in screw heads were hand-cut and seldom centered; in modern machine-made screws, the slot is precisely cut across the middle of the head.
Old hand-made nails were forged in a furnace, causing them to be different sizes; they are called "rose-headed" nails. Old nails often bleed into the wood around the nail hole.
Old dowels (wooden pins) are not uniformly round, as are those produced by machines.
Look for saw marks. Marks from antique ripsaws are straight. Modern saws make half-moon impressions. Tilt pieces upside down and at an angle to see these impressions. The impression left on a timber by a saw is called a "kerf mark."
Victorian Windsors are larger, heavier and more complex than earlier ones.
Exaggerated knees on cabriole legs with claw-and-ball feet indicate "revival pieces," pieces made after 1876.
One becomes a good judge of antiques by investing a great deal of study, and putting theoretical knowledge to the test with practical experience. The more you handle antiques, touch them, measure them with your eyes, rub you fingers across them and mentally photograph pieces, the quicker you'll develop an instinct.
New paint is not as hard as old paint; it dents. Old paint looks softer than new paint, and has a mottled patina. Old paint will shatter into slivers. Painted pieces are becoming more important to collectors; it is important not to strip or repaint these pieces, since this will destroy their potential value. These old painted charmers are better left alone. Grain painting is the technique of applying paint to imitate the grain of wood.
Ask yourself, do veneered panels, above and below, match? Do they exhibit the same grain patterns?
Veneering was introduced with the use of walnut. Old veneers were cut by hand, and consequently, are quite thick, many almost an eighth of an inch. Modern veneers, however, are cut with a machine-drawn saw, and are much thinner. This, along with other factors, is a useful indication of the genuineness of a piece.
The use of some rare woods implies that an article costs more for materials, and probably also for labor, and that it was likely made to a high standard throughout. The better quality eighteenth-century pieces were fitted with oak linings to the drawers, but in exceptional instances this might be mahogany or cedar. Practice varied from workshop to workshop as well as from period to period, and a guide can only give clues to answers.
Skillful repairs are not usually a do-it-yourself job, and it is not always easy to find the right man to undertake them. It's dangerous to buy pieces in a bad state of repair, unless you know someone who can be relied upon to put them into good order. Go to a reputable dealer, with skilled men in his own workshop who can make any necessary repairs.
It's worthwhile to study the methods of making furniture, and how they have changed over time. Learn, for instance, how the crude dovetails on heavy drawer sides were modified and improved each century.
The tips should help you determine if furniture pieces are genuine antiques.
If perchance genuine antiques are outside of your price range, you may want to consider mid century modern furniture reproductions from companies such as EMFURN.
Hey, this is my first actual article on my blog. I wanted to write about something that'll benefit leather furniture owners. I wanted to share my thoughts about modern accent chairs and lounge chairs.
Furniture is something that almost everyone thinks of at one point or another. A lot of times, people aren't happy with their regular plain looking furniture and home decor. Modern chairs are practically a work of art. Despite the fact that you can find all sorts of chairs for various needs, modern accent chairs and mid century modern chairs are the favorited by many. A chair is sometimes a center piece of a modern space. As long as human beings have a need to sit, chairs will always be in demand. :) Modern chaise lounges continues to be popular as they are both beautiful, comfortable. In fact, mid century modern chairs are so well designed that style and comfort are the most effective words to describe them. The majority of resort lobbies have these kinds of chairs for the convenience of their guests. Lounge chairs can make a huge difference in the way your home feels. Most people can select from a variety of colors for the lounge chairs. Most of these chairs are well made and may last for years.
A lot of people really appreciate mid century lounge chairs because they have that retro look that defined their parent's or grand parent's generation. Then again, don't be misled by the word "mid-century", as there's absolutely nothing outdated about them. In fact, you might even be able to use these chairs at the beach. It's the design and style of those chairs that folks adore the most because these days furniture is becoming far more bland and similar looking. The majority of these mid century chairs not only look fantastic but they are affordable if you purchase a good quality replica. It's important that the chair be deep enough to enable you to sit easily. These chairs are built for the highest functionality. The upholstery is often produced from leather. Even the backrest can be modified to suit your back.
The best chairs are typically made from leather upholstery. You may find such modern chairs in places like resorts and upscale dining establishments. A lot of people tend to use these very same chairs in their homes too. They look wonderful and quite appealing once you have them inside your home. You can even find chairs that are developed specifically for children. Several home owners prefer to possess mid century modern chairs in their living rooms over any regular chair because the chair itself adds a lot of character to the room. Also, a swing chair in the backyard is good choice if you have children. Lately there are many private companies selling modern and mid-century modern furniture but none can match Emfurn's quality. There is certainly also a growing need for contemporary accent chairs as they are often the finishing touch to a modern space. Whether you make a decision to buy modern day chairs or not, you should read and research about them online. Men and women, even aliens :P who like excellent style will appreciate these modern day chairs.