From dressers and wardrobes to chairs and ottomans, antique furniture pieces have an allure to them that many people can’t resist. The history and craftsmanship behind each piece make it valuable.
Many shops claim their inventories are stocked with beautiful antiques. However, you cannot take this claim at face value.
Here are some tips and tricks you can use to identify real antique pieces from antique-looking mass-produced furniture.
Inspect the Piece for Dovetailing
Dovetailing is a process of interlocking carved wood joints to connect two pieces of wood. When you see this detail in a piece of furniture, it is a sign of quality craftsmanship in woodworking.
Once you spot a dovetail joint, inspect it for uneven edges and lines. Buy pieces with imperfect but well-crafted dovetail joints. If you see straight lines, it probably means the dovetail was cut by a machine, meaning the furniture may not be antique.
Having Various Types of Wood in a Piece Is Good
Antique furniture has to be made with a variety of wood to take advantage of the best qualities of each type. That’s why it’s unlikely that any real antique furniture is made from the same kind of wood throughout.
Historically, it makes little sense to utilise valuable wood where no one would see it. Check the bottoms of chairs and drawers and other parts of the piece that are normally hidden to look for different types of wood.
Beware of Pieces That Look Old on Purpose
Faux antique furniture pieces are machine-manufactured furniture pieces treated to look old. They may be treated with chemicals or varnishes that may mimic the look of a real antique. Sometimes, faux antiques are not intentionally made to look old. Some pieces try to emulate furniture designs from older eras.
Don’t be complacent because you see that the majority of the pieces in the shop are antique. There may be faux antiques mixed in with authentic ones.
Remember to look at the corners, drawers, and other parts of the piece to see if it looks worn down or dirty. You should find evidence like bumps on the feet and hand-carved details. If you don’t find those things, you may have a piece of fake vintage furniture on your hands.
Research on Furniture Labels and Stamps
When trying to figure out whether an antique furniture piece is authentic, look for labels, stamps, or manufacturing tags. These will give information about when and where it was made. You may find labels in drawers, on the backs of bureaus, or on the bottoms of pieces.
However, these labels can also be faked. If you have suspicions on a piece, look closely at signs of use and wear.
Symmetry Is Not a Sign of Authenticity
Much like the dovetail joints visible on furniture, machine-made furniture pieces have symmetrical designs. The intricate work of handmade furniture does not have uniform construction; tiny differences in size and shape are noticeable.
Machine-made furniture was introduced after the mid-1800s. Until then, carving was done by hand. Irregularity makes handmade items unique.
Finding and Falling in Love with Antique Furniture
It’s easy to fall in love with gorgeous antique furniture pieces, but they can be a bit expensive. That is why learning to identify true antique pieces is important.
Knowing the difference between antique pieces and those designed to look like antiques can help you avoid overpaying for faux antiques. Take the time to inspect each piece and look for signs of quality craftsmanship. Remember that perfection and symmetry are the enemies when antique hunting. When you see both in a piece, walk away from it.
If you are looking for some of the finest authentic antique furniture in Adelaide, turn to Cavalier Antiques. Our inventory features a wide variety of antique and vintage pieces that can make antique lovers swoon. Browse our collection today!