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Over the years of working on hundreds of pieces of antique furniture, I’ve developed a quick and fairly accurate system for dating and determining the origin of any piece of furniture containing drawers. Construction Drawer construction has changed several times in the last 200 years.

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How a drawer is constructed and the woods used is revealing, but there are two important caveats. Seldom does one clue provide confirmation of anything.

Also important are style (including hardware), shrinkage, nails, screws, locks, the primary and secondary woods used, the type of finish, tell-tale tool marks, areas of wear and general appearance.

Here's a few furniture tips that may prove useful to you.

By Bob Flexner Pages 54-56 A while back, my wife and I were visiting friends who wanted to show us their collection of antique furniture.

Simply pull a drawer out a few inches, glance at the joinery on the side and feel the drawer bottom underneath – essentially a single motion.

In addition, the wood used for the drawer sides and bottoms helps determine whether the furniture is American or European.

Second, many clues aid only in establishing that the furniture isn’t older than a certain date.

Any technique or machine that was once used could still be used, and often is used, for example, by many readers of this magazine who build reproduction furniture.

Renaissance chairs were of two principal varieties: those light enough to be moved easily and those heavy thronelike seats used by the head of a household or other important people.

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