Dating a antique secretary
If the piece of furniture is dirty or encrusted with wax, clean it first with a mixture of denatured alcohol, white vinegar, and kerosene, in equal parts. Very early furniture, from the Middle Ages until the beginning of the eighteenth century, is mostly oak, but since the end of the seventeenth century, other woods as walnut and mahogany became the preferred choice among the cabinet makers.Around the 1670s they came to recognise the better properties of the walnut, which dense grain allowed for lighter and finer shapes of the furniture, and quickly turned into a most fashionable material.In other words, more vintage furniture is acquired for its beauty and function rather than the profit potential of a piece.But whether you are looking for a piece of antique furniture for your home or looking for something to sell on; to become knowledgeable about identifying antique furniture takes research.
Testing a finish isn’t always possible in a dealer’s showroom, but if you can manage it, identify the finish before you buy.
Examine these parts carefully; slight differences in size or shape are not always easy to spot.
A real antique is very rarely perfectly cut; a reproduction with the same components will be because a machine will have cut it. Until Victorian times, shellac was the only clear surface finish; lacquer and varnish were not developed until the mid-1800s.
Exact symmetry is another sign that the piece was machine-made.
On handmade furniture, rungs, slats, spindles, rockers, and other small-diameter components are not uniform.