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Machine cut dovetails were made from the middle of the 1800s onward. Three-ply plywood as we know it today was made in 1905. On turned parts of furniture, such as chair legs, use calipers to take measurements to check for shrinkage.
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This is a big topic to tackle and it will not be possible to cover many details in this short column. Oak joint stools, on the other hand, have been around for five hundred years.
Game or card tables did not exist in great numbers until the end of the 17th Century.
Windsor chairs were not around before the Queen Anne period.
Up-and-down saws left vertical, crisp uniform marks and were used from 1700 to the 1860s.
The use of square or oblong wooden pins that held in place by the shrinking of the wood was another joinery technique of that time. If you find a piece of furniture that seems to combine several styles, it is most probably not a period piece, but a later reproduction. Are all the parts original, or have there been replacements and repairs? Since wood is an organic material, it shrinks across the grain with age.
Scalloped dovetails can be dated to the 1890s and were only used for a short time. You might think it's a modern material, but the Egyptian Pharaohs used laminated wood in furniture and it was used in England in the 1740s. You may not be able to see this with the naked eye, but if you measure a circular table top with the grain and then across the grain, there should be a difference if the table is an antique.
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