Dating furniture handles
Second, many clues aid only in establishing that the furniture isn’t older than a certain date.
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.
This one has limited application but can be a life saver in some situations.
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.
The logic behind this move is simple: why waste expensive, solid wood (which has to be carefully treated and cured) on the inside of a drawer?
Plywood, however, is another 20th-century invention, so if you’re looking at composite wood and your antique is supposed to be Victorian, then that plywood was either added in a restoration or you’ve got a reproduction on your hands.
So, for example, hand-cut dovetails alone can’t be used to date furniture before the machine age.
On the other hand, machine-cut dovetails definitely establish that the furniture is no older than about 1895, when the dovetail-cutting machine was invented.