Furniture is often termed as "antique" because of its age, condition, utility, and other unique features that make the item desirable. The furniture may hold objects horizontally, support a human body and provide storage. Nevertheless, the earliest form of furniture was practical and simple. But with time, the furniture was professionally crafted and decorated. As a result, they became a symbol of status, which wealthy homeowners demanded.
Be careful not to strip off the old finish:
Buying antique furniture demands detective work. Once you discover an item that you think is an antique, be careful not to strip off the old finish. The old finish is the most valued part. It develops over many years of polishing, thus when removed, the furniture loses its value. However, you can restore and clean an old finish by wiping off decades of dirt, spots, white
rings, scratches and burns that often detract the finish.
When you are out shopping for antiques you need to carry several tools including a tape measure, baby wipes, strong flash-light, a sewing needle, a small sharp knife, a screwdriver and a magnifying glass. You can confirm whether the furniture is genuine by inserting the sewing needle into possible wormholes. If the needle goes in straight, then this is not a wormhole but a hole made using a drill; worms do not eat into the furniture in a straight line. Meanwhile, the sharp knife is used to confirm the type of wood that was used.
It is equally important to look for early workmanship signs including the proportions, materials (wood and hardwood) and the design details. Avoid relying heavily on old labels because they could be easily faked or reproduced. Furthermore, look out for possible repairs because poorly done repairs are not the best. Swindlers are keen to make "new" furniture using "old" parts.
They can also marry "old" and "new" pieces.
Check the changes in color on the wood. You can check the top's underside, which should be lighter than the wood exposed to air for many decades. If there is no difference, then the alleged antique should be handled suspiciously. The tape comes in handy while checking out for shrinkage because wood is prone to shrinkage over time. Nonetheless, wood remains the same with the grain while shrinkage is discovered across the grain. The change can be detected on the legs and sides. Therefore, you are more likely to discover splits in dowered joints and longer wood pieces.
Glues are can also indication of the age of the antique furniture. In the early days, glues were made out of bones, fish and hides. Furthermore, early glues were applied "hot". These glues were prone to give way after many years. On the other hand, modern glue is often white and is a 20th century invention. Moreover, it is extremely strong and often permanent. Once applied and dried you will be in a place to discover the difference. Furthermore, if you find a loose joint you will be in a better place to confirm the glue type.