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.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.And that is even if you are focusing on only one aspect of this very diverse subject.When trying to identify antique furniture, dedicated antique hunters search for beautifully preserved pieces, armed with pins, magnifying glasses, spirit levels and all sorts of testing equipment.Dovetail joints are strong and require skill to produce, so they’re generally a sign of a well-made piece.Hand-cut dovetails can date an older American piece to before 1890, although hobbyists and specialty makers still use them.
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 you suspect there’s something unusual or distinctively well-made about your piece, go with your gut, Masaschi says, and ask someone who knows.
This construction detail is your first key to the piece’s age and quality of craftsmanship.
The type of dovetailed joint, especially in drawers, reveals much about furniture construction and dating.
With just a little study of these examples, it is easy to spot true hand made construction vs. The name dovetail comes from the appearance of the joint, resembling the triangle shape of a bird's tail.