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How to date antique furniture- Shaker chest of drawers
Should I clean them at all? Wood shrinks in a direction opposite the grain. Let me know what you find! The Santa Fe began using a raised X sometime , and they stopped perhaps about No railroad put its name, initials, or monogram on a date nail. Visible surface planks primary wood on genuine antique furniture will be wide, varying in thickness, and relatively free of blemishes. One seller on eBay thought his 9 over 6 was an date nail! The date 18 is stamped in the head. Neither company was loyal to a single steel company, either. If you have a nail, you can look it up in the photo section to see if it is a date or if it is a code for something else. Some collectors prefer nails with their rusty patina intact. For example, a nail with a "41" is from
For a good site on date nails from poles, go to Scott Weed's site: A 35 was used in a pole 35 feet high, for example. Keep an eye out for ties re-used as fenceposts, in driveways, old buildings, etc. Isn't pulling date nails illegal? Ties were never removed because of age, so date nails did not tell section foremen when to replace ties. In nearly all cases the seller just does not know where the nails are fromthe attribution is either a guess or the seller was told bad info. Look for differences in nail styles within a piece of furniture if you suspect two or more pieces from different sources have been joined into a composite piece. My book will help at this step. Then the nails were driven into ties either at the treating plant, to indicate the year of treatment, or at the track, to indicate the year the tie was laid. Many ties, after leaving the treating plant, are found to be sub-standard. I have a nail which reads "PK" on the head. Thus, boards displaying "circular saw marks" will not be found on furniture pre-dating the "Empire Period" Nails are commonly offered at roughly dollar each at railroadina and antique shows. Later, machine did the cutting, but nails were still made one at a time. Often the shape of the nail head has some significance. Wherever treated ties come into use, date nails are not far behind. Although it has been stripped and refinished back to the original wood, much old-time non-mahogany furniture was originally painted. For example, a nail with a "41" is from My book makes all these distinctions clear. Like restorers of historical buildings, you can identify the period by the technology used to create the nails and unlock the past of furniture. Blacksmith forged examples can be identified by inspecting for thin and slightly off-centered slots and off-round heads. What does it mean? My book is devoted to both subjects. You can often date a piece by studying nails and screws. This problem was far worse in than it is now.
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