The dovetail of dovetailed joint, especially in drawers, reveals much about furniture construction and dating. With just a little study of these furniture, it is easy to spot true hand made construction vs. The earliest examples are from furniture placed antique 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 what a skilled cabinetmaker using small, precision saws and furniture chisels. Tiny angled saw cuts were followed by careful cutting by a sharpened chisel on both furniture to avoid splintering.
Hand chisels and wood-shaping tools operated with elbow grease left cuts and nicks in the wood. In comparison, manually operated hand saws left a straighter pattern. A handcrafted furniture piece does not set it in time as an antique. Furniture is still being crafted by hand today. However, machine-made evidence does give you a better picture of when the piece of furniture could not be from.
Sep 21, You can get an idea of the date of a piece of antique furniture by looking at the dovetail joint, as if it is hand cut you know its pre and the more primitive the cut usually means an earlier piece. Below you can see examples, the first is a 17th century drawer, pre dovetail so . © dovetail furniture. all rights reserved Follow us on Social Media. Dovetails - A Clue for Dating Antiques. Dovetail joints often hold two boards together in a box or drawer, almost like interlocking the fingertips of your hands. As the dovetail joint evolved through the last one hundred thirty years, it becomes a clue for the age and authenticity of antique furniture.
It can be difficult distinguishing the type of wood or finish used on a furniture piece, but these are important clues. Certain types of woods were favored during different furniture periods. For example, oak was primarily used in furniture made prior to Aftermahogany and walnut were very popular.
Combining this dating process with several other techniques will help you make an accurate age determination. STEP EIGHT: Check drawer construction and inspect dovetails Dovetails have long been a popular method for attaching two pieces of wood at a degree angle often seen in . Jan 30, - Enjoy articles focusing on furniture styles from antique to mid-century modern found in the living room, bedroom and throughout the house. You'll find the work of Stickley, Wegner, Nakashima, Eames and many other furniture makers. For example, oak was primarily used in furniture made prior to After , mahogany and walnut were very popular. Moving into the s, maple and cherry showed up in fine furniture manufacture quite often. Many Victorian furniture manufacturers used mahogany and rosewood through the late s. Then, aroun oak became popular again.
Moving into the s, maple and cherry showed up in fine furniture manufacture quite often. Many Victorian furniture manufacturers used mahogany and rosewood through the late s. Then, aroun oak became popular again.
Hand cut dovetails were used to hold the sides of drawers together, but also to join the dating members of case furniture. Hand made screws and nails were relatively expensive furniture could rust and expand, sometimes cracking the wood they secured. Glues of . Dovetails are interlocking carved wood joints used in cabinetry to connect two pieces of wood - drawer fronts and sides, cabinet or cupboard corners. The technique produces a sturdy, long-lasting. Fred Taylor is a antique furniture Worthologist who specializes in American furniture from the Late Classicism period . Send your comments, questions and pictures to me at PO Box , Crystal River, FL or [email protected]
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.
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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. 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.
Dating furniture by dovetail
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.
When the joint is expertly executed, it is a thing of beauty, and a secure joining of two boards that can last for centuries. A little glue cements the connection, and a good dovetail joint has great strength and durability.
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This secretary desk from about was built by a good country carpenter, notice the dovetails on the side of the drawer, and holding the top and side planks together as well. Hand cut dovetails were used to hold the sides of drawers together, but also to join the structural members of case furniture.
Hand made screws and nails were relatively expensive and could rust and expand, sometimes cracking the wood they secured. Glues of the period sometimes weakened. Dovetails have great strength, holding pieces of wood in perfect alignment over long periods of time.
Dovetails By Hand - Layout Tips \u0026 Tricks
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:.
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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.