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Antiquity Acres Gives New Life To Furniture!

It’s not uncommon for damaged or used furniture to find its way to the junk or burn pile. This mostly happens when there is a lack of knowledge or ambition to repair and save it. Over the history of time, there have been countless pieces lost for these reasons.

Antiquity Acres is now hoping to help reverse that trend by re-furbishing, re-purposing and refinishing furniture. While there are many, many antiques which enjoy increased value when kept in their original condition and finish, there are many more which must be repaired if they are going to avoid the junk or burn pile. Some are so bad refurbishing and refinishing is the only way to salvage the piece.

Every piece of furniture which Antiquity Acres receives is carefully inspected for damage. We then repair any damage and then refinish it if necessary.  Some of the finishes applied to a refurbished or re-purposed item will vary depending on the item and what was done. The finishes we apply may be specialty stains and varnishes in the hopes of returning the piece to its original beauty, or a different finish like paint or chalk paint. The goal is to save as many pieces of furniture as possible by giving them new life.  Pieces that will then be enjoyed by new owners.

Repaired and Refinished!
Repaired and Refinished!

Back in Use!

 

How do I know if my Furniture is Antique?

Finding information about antique furniture is one of the more challenging areas of research for the collector. The vast range of periods and styles, as well as the manufacture of reproductions and fakes, makes the identification and authentication of furniture particularly complicated.

Value of antique furniture depends on criteria:

  • Rarity
  • Provenance
  • Quality
  • Condition

There are several ways you can spot a piece of antique furniture:

Is it old? First, determine if the  antique is old. If it’s not old, it can’t be antique. General antique stores label objects 50 years or older as antiques whereas fine antique dealers consider a piece to reach maturity at 150 years.

Remove one screw in some inconspicuous spot. Handmade screws will have irregular widths between the spirals, running the whole length of the shaft. The slot in the head may be off-center. A single slot screw is another sign of age. Screws weren’t made completely by machine until 1848

Open doors and drawers. Also examine the drawer’s runner for signs of wear — the indication that it’s been opened thousands of times over the years. If the piece has drawers, remove a drawer and look closely where the front and back of the drawer are fastened to the sides of the drawer.

Inspect joints. If a joint was dovetailed by hand, it has only a few dovetails, and they aren’t exactly even.If it has closely spaced, precisely cut dovetails, it was machine-cut. Handmade dovetails almost always indicate a piece made before 1860. (Machine-cut furniture wasn’t made until about 1860. ) Exact symmetry is another sign that the piece was machine-made.

Wiggle knobs. Look carefully. Examine the bottom, sides, and back of the drawer; if the wood shows nicks or cuts, it was probably cut with a plane, a spokeshave, or a drawknife. Straight saw marks also indicate an old piece.

Inspect the mirror. Until 1800, all the antique mirror glass in America was imported. Antique glass is very thin, measuring less than 1/8 inch thick. Exact symmetry is another sign that the piece was machine-made.

Study the finish. Test the piece in an inconspicuous spot with denatured alcohol; if finish dissolves, it’s shellac. If the piece is painted, test it with ammonia; very old pieces may be finished with milk paint, which can be removed only with ammonia.

Check the material.The wood itself is the final clue. Very early furniture  (before 1700) is mostly oak. From 1700 on, mahogany and walnut were widely used as they became more available. Better furniture is predominately made with maple, oak, walnut, cherry, or mahogany.