Are You Sitting on a Treasure? Utah Antique Furniture RestorationsNovember 17, 2011
Looking into Utah Antique Furniture Restorations? Is your family heirloom a valuable antique crying out for professional restoration services? While only an expert can knowledgably appraise your furniture, there are some easy ways you can determine if what you have is a true antique. Follow the hints below, and of course, when it comes to Refinishing Old Furniture Utah, you can trust the experts at Freemont Furniture Co.
The most obvious giveaway to antique furniture is the joinery – or the places where wood pieces are joined together. Machine-cut furniture wasn’t available until 1860. If the piece in question has drawers, pull one out and closely examine the points where the front and back are fastened to the sides. If a joint was dovetailed by hand, there will only be a few of them, and they won’t be totally even. If your piece has many dovetails and they are immaculately spaced and cut, that would indicate that this work was done by a machine – and that would date your piece to sometime after 1860.
Now examine the bottom, sides, rear of the drawer. If you find straight nicks, cuts or saw marks, it’s probably a very old piece, but if the marks you see are round, that means the wood was cut with a circular saw, making it more recently built.
Pieces can also be dated by their finish. Shellac was at one time, the only clear surface finish available. Modern varnish wasn’t created until the mid-1800s. If your furniture is shellacked, oiled or waxed that probably means it was built before then. To test if your own piece, dab a hidden spot with denatured alcohol; if the finish dissolves, that means it’s shellacked.
Evenness is another sign that your piece was made by a machine. The rungs, slats, spindles, and rockers on handmade furniture are rarely symmetrical. Antiques were never perfectly cut, because they were made by hand. Newer pieces are even and square, because they are cut on machines.
Now identify the wood that your piece is built from. Furniture built before 1700 is most often made from oak, while furniture made later was often created from mahogany and walnut. In North America, pine has always been commonly used, due to its availability.
If you’ve examined your piece and determined it’s not a priceless antique, but rather just a piece you simply love, look no further for your Utah Furniture Restoring needs.