How to Tell the age of furniture?
Hunting for antique American furniture is a popular pastime, but how do you really know what you're buying is a true classic, such as a Shaker or Chippendale piece? By examining the shape and condition of the furniture nails and screws as well as the wood and finish, you can get a fairly good idea of when the furniture was built, and possibly by whom.
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The video above provides a great introduction to dating antique furniture and what areas should be examined. Take note of the shape of the screws used to hold the furniture together. Are they tapered and pointed with smooth grooves, or are the ends cut and the slots offset? Any combination of these features can help place the age of the furniture. Nails are also a strong indicator of age, as cut nails weren't replaced in construction until the 1880s.
Examine any locks and look for file marks or any signs of irregularity, which would indicate something that was handmade and therefore probably older. Check out the condition of the finish on the exterior as well as the drawers. Look for areas that have been worn down or replaced.