How Old is Your Antique Furniture? 4 Ways to Tell its Age

The ability to determine the age of antique furniture is a great skill. When attempting to determine the age of an antique there is no one definitive factor, but rather a combination of elements at work. Here is closer look at some of them.

How Old is Your Antique Furniture? 4 Ways to Tell its Age

1. Perform a close inspection

Upon inspection, antique furniture has some irregularities in its surface. These irregularities indicate that an antique piece is made by hand and not by machine. Look at the bottom, side, or back of a piece. Behind doors and inside its crevices are good places to look for these characteristic irregularities.

How Old is Your Antique Furniture? 4 Ways to Tell its Age

It is also common for the materials of an antique piece not to match completely. If a piece of furniture was hand crafted, you will notice that carvings or details such as knobs and spindles may not be exactly identical.

How Old is Your Antique Furniture? 4 Ways to Tell its Age

2. Determine the style period

When it comes to antique furniture, style is a good indication of the era the piece is from. English furniture in the 15th century highlighted floral and animal-based patterns, while furniture in the 17th century featured elaborate gildings and extravagant engravings. Antiques on Old Plank Road have numerous antique pieces from different eras and expressed in different styles.

How Old is Your Antique Furniture? 4 Ways to Tell its Age

3. Keep an eye out for the materials

To determine the age of your antique furniture, note the materials that were used in its manufacturing. Expert antique collectors generally check the type of wood and metal that was applied to a piece in determining the era where it came from.

Furniture that is made from oak was usually manufactured before the 1700s. Most of the pieces made of mahogany and walnut that we have today is made after the 1700s because they were the popular materials then. A collector familiar with the different grains and types of wood has the perfect advantage when it comes to telling the age of antique pieces.

How Old is Your Antique Furniture? 4 Ways to Tell its Age

4. Observe its craftsmanship

The processes involved in manufacturing furniture then and now have many differences. For one, antique furniture is largely hand crafted. Many claim that antique furniture is more durable than modern furniture but craftsmanship extends beyond durability. It is common to see cuts and nicks with furniture where hand tools such as chisel were used.

About the author: Angie Cole is a fan of everything vintage and admires true old-world craftsmanship. She is a fan of Antiques on Old Plank Road, a furniture shop that imports and restores European quality antique and vintage pieces.