Dating antique furniture dovetails
” In other words, what type of joint will overcome the failings of suspensions and movement?
The search for the answer to this question is the basis of our built in time line.
The notion of a self contained drawer unit is “new news” from late in the century.
A drawer is a fairly difficult thing to build when you get right down to it.
Early dovetail construction sometimes featured only one pin and it was often nailed in place.
Early Colonial (18th century) dovetail joints featured three or four stubby dovetails and they were glued, not nailed.
The suspension idea ranges from the simple runner in the case to support the drawer sides, to a slot cut in the side of the drawer to engage a runner (the Pilgrim “hung” drawer), to a guide added to the center bottom of the drawer to engage a runner, to the nylon roller and ballbearing suspensions found in modern manufactured furniture.
This is typical construction of the 16th and 17th centuries, including Pilgrim drawers.Antique stores are a good place to find furniture to refinish, but expect to pay for these pieces.If you're interested in antiques, recent or old, research before you buy anything. It's easy to spot an antique by the drawers, because joints weren't machine-cut until about 1860.If it has only a few dovetail joints, with pins narrower than the dovetails, then the joint was made by hand.