Antique Collecting

Antique Collecting

ABOUT fifty years ago, when the subject of English furniture first began to be studied and to be written about, it was divided conveniently into four distinct types. One writer called his books on the subject The Age of Oak, The Age of Walnut, The Age of Mahogany and The Age of Satinwood. It is not really quite as simple as that, for each of the so-called Ages overlaps the others and it is quite impossible to lagt down strict dates as to when any one timber was introduced or when it finally, if ever, went out of favour.

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Dover Books On Woodworking And Carving

Paperbound unless otherwise indicated. Prices subject to change without notice. Available at your book dealer or write for free catalogues to Dept. 23, Dover Publications, Inc., 31 East 2nd Street, Mineola, N.Y. 11501. Please indicate field of interest. Each year Dover publishes over 200 books on fine art, music, crafts and needlework, antiques, languages, literature, children's books, chess, cookery, nature, anthropology, science, mathematics, and other areas.

Eighteenth Century Water Bench

Door Frame Designs

More functional than decorative, many water benches were rather crude home-built affairs, but one occasionally sees particularly well-designed and executed examples. These invariably command a high price on the antique market. The bench offered here a very nice reproduction of a late eighteenth-century piece is typical of one that might have been made by a rural cabinetmaker for a customer who had the means to farm out such work.

Origins Of New Mexican Style

New Mexico Punched Tin Designs

Standards for reproductions of traditional 18th- and 19th-century pieces, encouraging a return to through mortise-and-tenon joinery and carved rosettes and sunbursts. While some teachers and students followed this Blue Book literally, others adapted the drawings to their own tastes. Today, well-worn copies of the Blue Book are still used in New Mexican cabinet shops, while the modest pieces crafted during the WPA period. their shellacked surfaces orange with age, fetch ever-rising prices on the antiques market. K.H. For additional reading, see

O American Woodworker A

It's a thrill when someone walks into my showroom and exclaims, Where do you get all these great antiques They look at the Colonial hutch pictured here and ask, Got any idea when it was built When I tell them that the hutch was built just a few weeks ago, they wonder how it could look so old, yet be so new. When I set out to build a Colonial-style hutch or antique table (see AW 45), I never start designing the piece from scratch. Instead, I look to museums or private antique collections for authentic pieces built by Colonial craftsmen. Antique furniture is full of important information that I try to use in my reproduction work. What type of wood and hardware were used What proportions and joinery details need to be Proper wood selection and layout is important for reproduction work. Like many of the antiques built in my area of northern New England, my hutch is made from local woods. I use yellow birch for the primary or exposed surfaces. and I use eastern white pine as the secondary...

By Michael Dresdner

Have you ever walked through a fine antiques shop or furniture store and wondered Why can't my finishes look like that Hie secret of a professional finishing job Ls often the staining technique. Seasoned finishers liave two things that you may not have lots of experience with color mixing, and a stain board.

August Home

Here's a television show I've become hooked on called Antiques Roadshow. Maybe you've seen it. Each week, the show travels to a different city where folks bring in their furniture and collectables to be appraised by experts. These exjjerts usually provide the history and other background information on the items as well as the current value. Although it's not a show about woodworking, they often feature interesting pieces of furniture.

Ood Facts

White oak has three distinct and beautiful faces. When flatsawn, it has a dramatic cathedral figure. Quartersawn displays a medium to very large ray pattern called tiger oak in antiques. The rjhird face, rift-sawn, lacks large rays but has a very straight, even, comb grain.


WHEN t PICKED UP Dudley Murphy and Rick Edmisten's Fishing Lure Collectibles (see Sources, page 71), my interests in fishing, antiques and wood turning met head-on Now I'm hooked on making wooden fishing lures. I know this passion is somewhat irrational, because plastic lures are abundant and economical and they catch fish. I make my own wooden lures because it's fun. I love recreating old patterns as much as I love to explore my own theories on catching fish. I enjoy testing unusual shapes and unique finishes. And I can report first-hand that catching a fish with a lure I've made myself is delightful. You should try it yourself.

By Roger Holmes

Awhile back, I had lunch with a friend who's in the antique business. As we ate, he called mv attention to the old trestle table at which we sat. Top's a single plank, he said. Don't see many like it today. I had to agree. Oak planks two inches thick, three feet wide and ten feet long are hard to come by. To make a table-top like that today, you'd almost certainly have to glue several narrow boards edge to edge.


Bonnet, waist and some of the carvings to suit his taste. He worked from photographs and examined period pieces in museums and antique shops. After building a few projects by the book, Gartner started working on his own designs. Now he generates his own patterns for antique cars. To create a set of working plans, Gartner studies photographs and takes notes at car shows and auto museums.

By Charles Linn

Hen I spotted this 1930s-era locomotive in an antique store. I just had to build one like it. The form and utility of this object are easy to appreciate. Its maker combined inexpensive softwood and the simplest joinery with a streamlined, aerodynamically inspired form. The resulting toy was a winner at a time when money was scarce and toys were luxury items for many American families.

Wood Corner Blocks

Nestled in the heart of picturesque Bucks County, Pennsylvania, Dan Becker's antique store strives to put the perfect vintage furniture in customers' hands. But since it's not always easy to find just the right antique piece when you need it, Becker also offers his customers some very convincing reproductions. Using his own finish recipes made from safe, easily available materials, Becker creates finishes that add years to his newly made classics.

Front Panel

Board, 1 took careful measurements of the moldings used on genuine antique cupboards. (See Fig. 2.) You can come close to duplicating profiles using a selection of router bits, or a tablesaw molding head fitted with different knives. But it's much easier to create historical accuracy on the shaper, using custom-ground knives. (See photo, above.)


My dog's energetic tail inspired this cabinet. Anything within wagging range was endangered, including a number of my favorite antique toys. After one-too-many near misses, I decided to move these small treasures to safety above the wag line and behind glass. The cabinet I built for them measures about 27 in. wide by 32 in. tall, so it's small enough to fit just about anywhere.

Final Pass

Some time ago, I delivered a freshly restored chest to an antique dealer in the village. Neither of us was young or ever in a hurry, so we exchanged some ideas over a bottle of good wine. While doing this, a prospective customer entered the store. He had a markedly Slavic look and talked with a matching accent. He inquired about the price of a beautiful salt and pepper set in the window. The crystal containers were set into an exquisitely carved wooden tray and was well worth the 250 my friend was asking for it. The customer, after due deliberation, asked where the set originat

Worst Nightmare

Bill Cartwright is intimate with the used-car business, but you won't see him in a plaid polyester sport jacket. His connection Is through the high-quality wooden car pans he reproduces for antique cars. Cartwright began his woodworking career by apprenticing as a patternmaker in the furniture industry. Somewhere along the line, he met a coworker who made Ford parts, and Cartwright got interested in antique cars. The rest, as they say, is history or a remarkable facsimile thereof

Pine Trestle Table

Paryy Walll Type

Over the years we've seen more trestle table designs than we can remember. They range from ornate and massive sixteenth-century Spanish tables shaped from 2 stock to the long and lean Shaker communal dining tables with gracefully arched maple feet. The table we're presenting here combines what we feel are some of the best features of many designs. Posts and rails are enhanced with stopped chamfers the feet are long, narrow, and nicely shaped. Locking wedges are of cherry , which contrasts with the natural pine. The turned-spindle center support is a feature occasionally found in long seventeenth-century American tables, but not often seen in reproductions. If you lack a lathe, substitute a post of square stock with stopped chamfers. With the square center post and a natural finish, as shown in the photograph, this table has an elegant Scandinavian look that will fit in well with contemporary or antique furnishings.

Colonial Dry Sink

Early Colonial Furniture And Houses

The Early American dry sink is one of the most popular antiques for home workshop reproduction. There were a great many variations built through the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, but they all basically served to store buckets of water drawn from the well. The upper sink compartment was usually lined with zinc to provide a watertight basin. This particular example is a large or double sink. The paneled ends and doors and the small counter with drawer are design features that help to make this an unusual and rewarding project.

Shop Shot

Robert Whitley Woodworker

Enter Robert Whitley's showroom and you immediately step into two worlds of woodworking. One half of the room is filled with contemporary furniture distinguished by graceful curves and contrasting woods. On the other side of the room you'll marvel at the selection of restored antique furniture and flawless reproductions of 18th-century pieces. In a career spanning nearly half a century Robert Whitley has crafted a reputation that is unique because of its diversity. Since the early 1950's, museums, antique dealers, and private collectors from across the country have brought their damaged antique furniture to Whitley for repair. Before long, Whitley's restoration work brought in customers who wanted period reproductions built. Both types of work flourished, but the success of these parallel ventures didn't trap Whitley in the 18th century. In the midst of his historical work, he explored new territory in contemporary furniture design. Several of these pieces his shaved spindle rocker...

By Frank Klausz

A lot of furniture is ruined by removing the finish in an effort to restore the piece. Antique furniture 100 vears old or more is most valuable with its original finish therefore, whenever it is possible, any work on an antique should involve bringing the finish back to life without taking it off. I call this process restoring the finish. And restoration doesn't stop with just antiques Any type of furniture can In addition to knowing when and how to restore a finish, it's important to know what kind of finish you're trying to restore, because there are different approaches for different finishes. Ihc majority of antique furniture is finished with shellac or varnish, and occasionally with oil. Nitrocellulose lacquer has become popular only in die last 30 to 40 years, so you're most likely to find diis finish on a more recent piece. Tliat said, let's look at the options you have for giving an old finish new life.


Although I admire Mission furniture and draw on it freely for inspiration, I'm not interested m doing reproductions. Instead, I try to design furniture that feels modern, but also seems grounded in history. I'd like to attract customers who wouldn't necessarily be interested in buying antiques. With this table, I did several things to achieve separation from the originals.


IN THE LATE 19 H and early 20th centuries, the country general store carried a little bit of everything, including sewing supplies. Most stores featured a countertop cabinet whose drawers held dozens of colorful spools of thread. Most general stores are long gone, of course, but spool cabinets are still useful for anybody who sews or quilts. Old ones in good shape are rare, but reproduction labels and knobs are readily available for building new cabinets that look just like those treasured antiques. bases, but others omitted the base and just had molding around the sides.The variations are almost endless.This cabinet uses the same construction techniques as many antiques, which have survived for over 100 years.


A new mechanical movement to fit the expanded case is available from Merritt's Antiques, R.D. 2, Douglassvillc. PA 19518. Order movement P-968-13 and P-89 hands. You will have to file the opening in the hands to make them fit. Order keyhole grommets P-90 to protect the clock face when using this movement.

David Wachnicki

I like co browse antique shops for Early American treasures co rcproducc. One piccc chat's always fascinated mc is chc silver Cray. These open scrollwork boxes held flatware and linens on many a colonial sideboard, but chcy mysteriously fell out of favor in the 1800s. Goodness knows why they're very handy. My wife loves hers, and so do our daughters, and our friends, and their friends