Dating a antique secretary
Antique Furniture is one of the most fascinating sections of antique collecting.
Primarily because so many of us naturally do what’s most important when collecting antique furniture. Most antique furniture tends to be purchased by ordinary everyday people, rather than dedicated antique furniture collectors.
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.
If it has only a few dovetail joints, with pins narrower than the dovetails, then the joint was made by hand.
Look carefully at the bottom, sides, and back of the drawer; if the wood shows nicks or cuts, it was probably cut with a plane, a spokeshave, or a drawknife. If the wood shows circular or arc-shaped marks, it was cut by a circular saw, not in use until about 1860.
Handmade dovetails almost always indicate a piece made before 1860.
If a joint was dovetailed by hand, it has only a few dovetails, and they are not exactly even; if it has closely spaced, precisely cut dovetails, it was machine-cut.
Other interior or home decorators tend not to take things so seriously but are still interested in items, history and authenticity.
Many vintage furniture buyers opt for quality reproductions that are more affordable, and either option is fine providing that you research your subject well when identifying antique furniture.
There is no exact science where antique furniture is concerned; you simply make an educated decision based on what is most important to you.
Becoming knowledgeable about antique furniture takes research, even if you are focusing on only one aspect of this wide-ranging subject.