Check for Materials: Initially, check for anything that shouldn’t be there, just like a plywood! Would be the top, back or sides made of plywood? Plywood had not been utilized in furniture making before the 1930s, so would never have been included in a Georgian part. Likewise, chipboard, staples or Phillips screws are proof of later creation. Vintage collectible chairs were always prepared with mortice and tenon joints, so the chair which is joined by dowels is not Georgian!
The next thing to do is turn the item upside down. If it is a huge dining table, we often advise people to use a flashlight to check out beneath. The first thing to look for is a coating of the top: if a table has been used for approximately 200 years, there will be a waxy edge around the border where people’s fingers have touched the table. This kind of thing is difficult to reproduce – if the underside is too clean, or there are spots of brush marks, then it gives a clear indication.
Checkout layers’ Thickness:
The older piece has thicker veneer applied. Coarsely cut is desirable on the item because veneers were handstitched until well into the 19th century. Vintage pieces have glued down and then smoothed and polished in situ. As mechanization improved by the 20th century, Veneers come to be ‘paper’ thin.
Look for edge-joining Resources:
Dates are important when viewing at screws and nails. Screws were not introduced until around 1675 and until mid-19th century they were handmade. A handmade screw has a little taper and the slit on the head is seldom centrally aligned plus it has shallower spiral than the machine made screws. Nails were square cut at the older time. Until 1900 round wire nails are not used.
Check the Smoothness:
A new top will have a new finishing, and will not be much smooth and silky; the grain may be increased, or the edges strangely sharp for a part of age.