We love the variety of old furniture our customers bring us to repair and restore. When you find an old piece that you like, you may be wondering if it is actually considered an antique. The standards vary between general stores and fine antique dealers. Usually, age is an indication of value, and some antique dealers will say antique furniture is 150 years older or older. While you may not be sure of the age of your piece, here are some things to look for in an antique.

Dovetail joints can be examined to help determine if a piece of furniture is antique. Dovetailing used to be done by hand until around 1860 when machines were used more frequently. You can find dovetailing on the sides of drawers or cabinets. When you look closely, you can see if the lines are cut perfectly straight or if there are irregularities. If it looks too clean and perfect, chances are it was done by a machine and not by hand, meaning it would not be considered antique.

Similar to checking the dovetail joints, check your furniture for overall symmetry. Antique furniture that was made by hand will have small differences and inconsistencies throughout, especially in detailed carving. Look closely to see if the whole piece is extremely uniform or if you can spot irregularities. If you notice enough little differences, the piece was likely handmade and would be considered antique.

Additionally, you should check your furniture for any labels or stamps. Not always, but sometimes you can find the company name and location and year the furniture was made somewhere on the piece. Check the back or bottom, inside drawers, near lower edges, or anywhere inconspicuous to see if you can find this information. Keep in mind that labels could be fake, so consider the condition of the piece if you think a label may be false.

Antique or not, when you find a piece of older furniture that you love, you can take it and make it yours. We would love to help you restore your beloved furniture, so contact us today to find out how to bring new life into your old pieces.