Our reproduction furniture also exemplifies what a quality replica looks like, so be sure to learn the differences between good and bad antique imitations.
You may also want to look up Asian furniture manufacturers: they usually produce caricatures of English or European styles, so you’ll find, for example, that ogee feet become ornate and excessively curved, or you may even find Asian motifs carved into the wood.
Over the years of working on hundreds of pieces of antique furniture, I’ve developed a quick and fairly accurate system for dating and determining the origin of any piece of furniture containing drawers. Construction Drawer construction has changed several times in the last 200 years.
Because this construction is visible on the surface (unlike mortise-and-tenon and dowel joints, for example), it’s usually easy and quick to determine the rough age of furniture, and its authenticity as a true antique, using drawers.
At one point we went into their bedroom and I headed directly for a very old-looking chest-of-drawers.
I pulled the top drawer open about 3″, looked at the side of the drawer and felt the exposed bottom. That’s my wife’s private drawer.” Followed immediately by my wife’s reassuring, “Don’t worry.
Simply pull a drawer out a few inches, glance at the joinery on the side and feel the drawer bottom underneath – essentially a single motion.
In addition, the wood used for the drawer sides and bottoms helps determine whether the furniture is American or European.
Any technique or machine that was once used could still be used, and often is used, for example, by many readers of this magazine who build reproduction furniture.
We hope that we’ve answered your questions, but if anything is lacking, please feel free to post in the comments section below!
By Bob Flexner Pages 54-56 A while back, my wife and I were visiting friends who wanted to show us their collection of antique furniture.
This one has limited application but can be a life saver in some situations.
We’ve already written a great piece on distinguishing between different woods, so you may want to check that out.