Dating furniture styles

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As the dovetail joint evolved through the last one hundred thirty years, it becomes a clue for the age and authenticity of antique furniture.

The type of dovetailed joint, especially in drawers, reveals much about furniture construction and dating.

Mail-order catalogues serving the middle class became more prevalent with toys one type of product they carried.

In the last two decades of the 19th century, the number of illustrations increased in such catalogues with a noticeable improvement and quantity in the 20th century.

This is a boon for collectors who can study original or facsimile catalogues to identify and date items in their collection. With the passage of time, miniatures from this period are now considered highly desirable and "antique." Even items made in large quantities may become scarce depending upon how many were discarded in the past and how many are now disappearing into collections.

Tiny angled saw cuts were followed by careful cutting by a sharpened chisel on both sides to avoid splintering.

This secondary wood, as it's known, is most commonly pine or oak. Used during the 18th century and Regency periods, nearly always as a veneer. Brownish-whitish wood used in the solid from the 17th century for the frames of upholstered furniture, because it doesn't split when tacked. Ranges in tone from light to dark brown, much used during the 18th century for French provincial furniture made in the solid. A dark, boldly figured wood, almost black in parts, with pale striations, used mainly as a veneer for refined furniture of the Regency period. Dense, heavy, almost black wood, often used as a contrasting inlay in marquetry veneering. Light brown wood, popular for Windsor chairs and provincial English furniture. Rich golden-brown or red-brown wood, which became popular in England c.1730.

Listed below are examples of the most frequently seen types of woods used for antique furniture. Also popular during the 18th and 19th centuries as a base for painted furniture. Orange-brown wood popular for American Queen Anne and Chippendale furniture. There are several types of mahogany - San Domingan, Cuban, Honduras and Spanish are most common. Deep, rich, chocolate-brown or pale golden-brown coarse-grained wood used predominantly in Britain from Middle Ages to late 17th century.

The Shakers are well known for their simple but elegant furniture.

Furniture built in the Midwest and the South is different from New England made pieces.

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