Showroom - Frequently Asked Questions. 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. With just a little study of these examples, it is easy to spot true hand made construction vs. 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. Tiny angled saw cuts were followed by careful cutting by a sharpened chisel on both sides to avoid splintering.
Dovetails have great strength, holding pieces of wood in perfect alignment over long periods of time. This lavishly hand-carved cabinet from about shows structural dovetail joints on the back side.
Simpler country furniture often had larger dovetails, or even a single tail and pin. This country pine cupboard from the 's has big country dovetails:.
These were cut with a jig or pattern, and an apprentice could create a very well fitting and attractive joint. Popular here into the 's, these joints never gained acceptance outside of the U.
European cabinetmakers continued their hand-cut dovetails well into the 's. Here is an example of an Eastlake chest of drawers with characteristic "spoon" carving and "pin and cove" dovetails from the 's:.
The next technological development in joinery was again American. In the 's, American furniture began to be mass produced, with interchangeable parts and speedy production for the growing and affluent middle class.
The slow and laborious crafting and carving, one piece at a time, by a master woodworker was not suited to the new mass market. Steam power, transferred by pulleys and leather belts, operated saws, carving machines and routers that could copy an original pattern exactly.
These routers were ancestors of the electric precision tools of today, and could be used to rapidly cut a machined dovetail joint. Unless they could see the actual item in its bad condition before its restoration, they would not believe that a restored item was really antique.
The reason is the incredible ability of some Chinese wood workers making the new look old, and the practice of multiplying antique furniture used in China. In fact, repaired furniture items can look pretty new after a restoration, with all age signs and blemishes virtually invisible.
Not necessarily a good thing as this may lower an item's antique value. Always be critical.
Few furniture or wooden items are in good condition after centuries, without at least some restoring. Perfect items should always get the alarm bells ringing, if you are looking for REAL antiques.
Tips for Dating Old Pieces Made in America
Wax application methods used in China. Wet wax application The method of wet wax application used in China us is basically the same method of wax application used in the west.
Determining the age of antique furniture is the first step in establishing a proper valuation, as well as verifying that the piece is indeed an authentic furnishing from the era in question. There is some detective work to be done if you want to really ensure that the antique is real, and a qualified inspector should be hired if you're spending. 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. With just a little study of these examples, it is easy to spot true hand made construction vs. If you are trying to determine the age of a piece of American antique furniture, it will require investigative jankossencontemporary.com closely at the the different elements that make the piece of furniture. Examine the level of work that went into the furniture from the joinery, finishing, knobs, and more.
A paste wax or semi-liquid wax is applied to the surface of the wood. Dry wax application Dry wax application is something different altogether.
In old times probably a torch would have been used. Electricity has made it possible to use this method without fire. Hard wax shavings are placed on the wood surface positioned horizontally to be waxed.
Dating chinese furniture
Then a heating body like a hot air hair blower, induction coil or heating iron is held close to the surface to soften und liquefy the wax, which then flows and spreads over the wood. It fills all crevices and the wood grain. The wax is polished after the wax had cooled down. The result is a completely smooth and rather hard surface, hiding uneven grain completely. Evaluating the age of antique Chinese furniture and carved panels As of now the export of antique furniture over years old from China has effectively been stopped.
When buying a piece of antique Chinese furniture or carved wall panels always check the following: Was it handmade, or is it made with electric or machine tools? Perhaps made in Vietnam or SE Asia?
Styles are slightly different, even if Chinese subjects are shown in carvings, etc. Is it vintage or antique? This is sometimes difficult to decide. Furniture was commonly hand made until at least midth century.
Are there any repairs or restorations indicating a higher age?
How to Determine the Age of Antique Furniture
Is there a patina indicating that it is very old? What wood type is it made of? Points To Check To check if a piece of antique Chinese furniture or wooden panel or screen is antique, the most important things to check are: Back panel With antique furniture as well as wall panels, etc. But wood can be easily made to look old, thus it takes experience to make sure that the age signs are genuine. Workmanship Carving and other details must be checked to make sure all was hand made. When antique Chinese furniture or panels are made using hand tools, there are always some minute details showing this.
Generally, the traces of hand tools, electric tools or machines are different. Many Victorian furniture manufacturers used mahogany and rosewood through the late s.
The Simplicity of Ming-Dynasty Furniture
Then, aroun oak became popular again. The type of wood used is not an exact indicator of age, but when you tie in the other factors like style and construction technique, you start to get a better idea of the date of the piece. Original upholstery materials like silk, wool, or cotton were spun and woven into a variety of damasks, satins, and brocades with many different patterns.
A wide variety of materials and fabric designs were favored for upholstery during different periods. Schwartz is an upholstery guide that can help you decipher the styles that align with furniture periods.
Closely review the screws. Screws were not made completely by machine until So if you find a furniture item using screws that have completely rounded shafts, pointed ends, and perfectly finished heads with matching cuts much like a screw you would purchase todaythe piece likely dates to the midth century or later. Screws made from about through the mids were partially machine-made giving the threading a more even appearance. But the heads were still finished with hacksaws to add the groove to fit a screwdriver, so no two are exactly alike.
The first screws were crafted during the s by blacksmiths using square nail stock that was heated and pounded until it was somewhat round. The tips were blunt and each one was unique.
If you find these hand-finished screws in furniture, investigate other cts of the pieces to see if they appear to match the screws in age. One similarly-dated element is brass hardware.
Early 18th-century hardware was cast from molten brass using molds made of sand. This hardware often has inclusions or marks left behind by grains of sand or odd colors from impurities.
The forms of Chinese furniture evolved along three distinct lineages which dates back to BC, based on frame and panel, yoke and rack (based on post and rail seen in architecture) and bamboo construction techniques. Chinese home furniture evolved independently of Western furniture into many similar forms including chairs, tables, stools, cupboards, cabinets, beds and sofas. Evaluating the age of antique Chinese furniture and carved panels As of now the export of antique furniture over years old from China has effectively been stopped. For this reason there is an even higher need to be conscious of some of the techniques used in the repair, restoration and the production of antique Chinese furniture. Aug 14, Classical Chinese furniture generally refers to a wide variety of pieces made during the Ming and Qing dynasties, from the end of the 14th century through to the beginning of the 20th century. It includes tables, cabinets, chairs, stools and bedframes, as well as other furnishings used in domestic settings. Materials, condition, age and.