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In America, pine has always been used because it's easy to find and easy to work; better furniture may be made with maple, oak, walnut, cherry, or mahogany.But because the same woods have always been favored for furniture, workmanship and finish are probably a better indicator of age than the wood itself.Other good sources are secondhand stores, household auctions, and garage sales.
Exact symmetry is another sign that the piece was machine-made.Never buy an antique, or try to refinish it, until you know what you have.In this article, we'll discuss how to assess whether a piece of furniture is an antique and whether it is worth saving through the refinishing process.A real antique is not perfectly cut; a reproduction with the same components is, because it was cut by machine. Until Victorian times, shellac was the only clear surface finish; lacquer and varnish were not developed until the mid-1800s.
The finish on a piece made before 1860 is usually shellac; if the piece is very old, it may be oil, wax, or milk paint.Real antiques and many reproductions are extremely valuable, but there are also many imitations.