nails were handmade, square and often had beaten
heads and were generally uneven in appearance; whilst
modern nails (post circa 1880) are mass produced
Look for a blackened area of wood around corroded iron nails.
||The Cabinet Makers tools always leave
clear clues as to the period when the furniture
was made. For example, modern planes and Period
planes work differently and leave completely different
scars, likewise Period saw-marks are unevenly parallel
compared to modern saw-marks which are identically
parallel or radial.
|Early glue was made from animal products
( including hide, bones and fish) melted in a glue
kettle and mixed with water. Over time the glue
dries and crystallizes. Importantly this glue is
revesible and therefore antique 'friendly', as opposed
to modern PVC glue which is neither. So look for
signs of crystallized glue, also loose joints can
indicate that reversible glue was originally used.
||Always look for worn components in
the right places, take your time to check the piece
carefully and look for signs of use on the base
of the feet, drawer runners, chair rail stretchers
and any area of potential wear.
|Are the 'Pin' and the'Tail' a different size and shape from each other, if they are identical then the joint may have been manufactured by an automated process. A scribe line was made by the Cabinet Maker when marking out the dovetail joints, it is not always present by any means but can help to re-inforce an opinion.