Dating furniture screws Furniture Detective: Screws give valuable clues when in search of antique furniture origins

Dating furniture screws

Note the flat spot on the shaft, the irregular threads, blunt tip and the off center slot. If you can feel slight, parallel ridges and hollows, the piece was hand planed, probably prior to the midth Century.

Antique Furniture Screws

They were thick and heavy. Bythe use of cast iron in the making of butt hinges was discontinued in favor of stamped steel. Looking at the bottom or back of a dating furniture screws, or inside its doors and drawers, can provide important clues about whether or not a piece of old furniture was machine cut or crafted by hand.

Look carefully at the bottom, sides, and back of the drawer; if the wood shows nicks or cuts, it was probably cut with one of the variety of saws used before the introduction of the circular saw around Old veneer could not be cut thin. But as the dating furniture screws and sophistication of furniture increased in the late 17th century and the use of brass hardware, locks and concealed hinges became more popular, there was an obvious need for a fastener that could hold two surfaces together without having to penetrate the back surface of the second piece.

A very old piece will have no screws at all.

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Machine cut dovetails were made from the middle of the s onward. Antique Show Schedule December What is the furniture made of?

System for Dating Country and Primitive Furniture, Part One

One thing to determine is the utility of the furniture you're trying to date. The pitch, the angle of the thread to the shaft, will vary considerably from thread to thread as will the depth of the cut into the shaft that produces the thread.

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But the heads were still finished with hacksaws to add the groove to fit a screwdriver like those made even earlier, so no two are exactly alike. The edges are often flat since they were filed into shape, and the tip is invariably blunt since the smith just cut it off.

The screw above was handmade.

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I began collecting up and down, pit, bolt, and early circular saws to study saw construction and the marks each type of saw left on the dating furniture screws it cut. But the most obvious clue to the handwork is the thread. The slot in the top was hand cut by a hacksaw. The point of the handmade screw is blunt. Sloan holds many patents for cutting threads, shaping points, and forming the heads of screws.

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Furniture built in the Midwest and the South is different from New England made pieces. Starting with the top of the screw, the head, evidence of handwork is abundant.

Dating Furniture

June 18, at 8: If you have a piece with brasses, it's most likely pres or a revival piece from the late s on. Examine examples of old screws very carefully and they will provide you with a valuable clue to their origin and perhaps to the origin of the furniture in which they are found.

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When hand planes were used to smooth woods, they more often than not left some sort of uneven surface. The screw on the right is a modern gimlet screw, postwith tapered shaft, even threads, pointed tip and centered slot. The hinge dates to