Dating a piece

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Forum topic by TCCcabinetmaker posted 04-23-2017 05:49 AM 625 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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932 posts in 2962 days

04-23-2017 05:49 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question

So I recently picked up a project repairing, or Apperently re-repairing an old furniture piece.

It is a mahogany veneered secretary desk. While all visible surfaces are finished the back is really backs and bottoms start to tell a much more interesting story! The core wood I think is white pine, but it is hand dawn, and planed! There are some far more modern nails from the original repair, but others appear to be made by a blacksmith.

Upon closer inspection of the profiles, they appear to be done with a profile plane. I know that the family comes from the North Carolina area, and this piece may have been in the family for a while. I was hoping for a trademark, but have found none.

Anyone have any other ideas of what I should look for?

-- The mark of a good carpenter is not how few mistakes he makes, but rather how well he fixes them.

4 replies so far

View JayCee123's profile


200 posts in 1372 days

#1 posted 04-23-2017 11:30 AM

Have you looked on the back, bottom or inside any drawers for markings?
You’ve already noticed the nails. Same for any screws machine or hand-cut?
The hardware. Any identification marks? Material? Casted or fabed from plate?
The joinery, especially at the drawers are they butt type joints, finger joints, dovetails? Are the fingers or dovetails few and simple (hand-cut) or many and multiple (machine cut)? Are the fingers identical or differ slightly?
The drawer bottoms. Are they hand planed boards or plywood?
Saw marks on unfinished faces of stock. Straight line or circular? Cut by hand saw or circular saw blades.

View TCCcabinetmaker's profile


932 posts in 2962 days

#2 posted 04-23-2017 06:49 PM

Well, after the refurb the hardware was changed, and the original holes filled with dowels, drawers are dovetailed, you can even see the layout for the dovetails still.

The only way to see the hand tooling is to look at the backs and bottoms so, yes I looked there

-- The mark of a good carpenter is not how few mistakes he makes, but rather how well he fixes them.

View 000's profile


2859 posts in 1507 days

#3 posted 04-23-2017 07:24 PM

I’m not much help,
but maybe you could post some pictures and someone might help dial in the era and maker.

Word of caution; I dated a piece once,...... ended up marrying her!

View HorizontalMike's profile


7804 posts in 3521 days

#4 posted 04-23-2017 07:56 PM

Screws and metal hardware can be a good indicator of age:

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

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