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Dating furniture drawers

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Tool marks and obvious signs of rough cuts are fairly typical with pieces more than 150 years old.That said, it is important to realize that skilled craftsmen are building furniture by hand even today so you'll want to continue to investigate the age of the piece using at least one other method.Nails are also a strong indicator of age, as cut nails weren't replaced in construction until the 1880s.Examine any locks and look for file marks or any signs of irregularity, which would indicate something that was handmade and therefore probably older.

Look for areas that have been worn down or replaced.

However, learning a few basic tips and tricks used by experienced antique collectors and dealers will give even a novice collector the general knowledge needed to identify a piece of antique furniture.

It is also important to become familiar with the furniture styles of the different periods and eras.

An effective interlocking mechanical joint replaced the lapped and nailed joint around 1660 and quickly gained broad acceptance: Dovetails were simple to form with existing tools and provided excellent pulling resistance without the need for additional nails or pegs.

Rudimentary lap-dovetailed drawer construction, circa 1680.