Furniture Detective: Don’t underestimate sandpaper’s ability to close wood pores and even grain color

Furniture Detective Fred Taylor asks after a piece of antique furniture is stripped, what happens next? The purist will say to finish it in some exotic concoction of wax and oil and leave it alone. The hack next door will recommend three coats of tinted gloss polyurethane rubbed between coats with fine steel wool. The professional will say: "Sand it first." Sand it? Why in the world would you sand it? Because preparation is 90 percent of finishing, and the best finish in the world won’t look good if the piece isn’t properly prepared for the finish. So what exactly is the objective of the sanding process?
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Horner dining set sells for more than $100,000, vintage Tiffany dominates lamp selection

A monumental circa-1890 R.J. Horner figural carved mahogany 12-piece dining room set soared to $100,300 at a cataloged auction held May 21, 2011 by Fontaine’s Auction Gallery. The set was the top lot in the sale, which attracted a large amount of Tiffany lamps and decorative objects. An unusual Tiffany Studios bronze crab inkwell with an exceptional brown and deep red patina with green highlights went for $23,600.
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Check the drawers for the first sign of age on antique furniture

Furniture Detective columnist Fred Taylor says in an effort to determine the range of the age of a piece of furniture, we have the beginnings of a built-in time line if the piece has drawers. A drawer is a fairly difficult thing to build when you get right down to it. It is a five sided box that must fit perfectly within a case (a six-sided box) and be removable on demand without binding or breaking either the drawer or the case.
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Massachusetts’ finest estates and collections coming May 21, 2011

More than 500 lots of top market antique furniture, vintage lighting, fine art, decorative accessories, period furniture, clocks, estate jewelry and watches, including a 12-piece R.J. Horner figural carved dining set is set to light up a May 21 sale in Pittsfield, Mass. The sale is punctuated by several pieces from Tiffany studios. A key find is a bronze inkwell with the fine figure of a crab, its claws reaching forward, pinching the coiled handles of the inkwell pot mounted with an oyster shell.
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Antique furniture, like old cars, can shed some parts when the going gets rough

One thing to bear in mind while searching for your next antique furniture treasure is that this stuff, by definition, has been around the block a few times, and the road has not always been smooth. Sometimes, old furniture, like old cars, tends to shed some parts when the going gets rough. And while some missing pieces are perfectly obvious, others aren’t, and it takes a little detective work to confirm that vague feeling that something is awry.
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Atlanta antiques dealer carves out market for Georgian style furniture

Antique furniture comes in many styles and everyone is different when it comes to decorating their homes. Some may like Mid-century Modern or Victorian styles; while others may enjoy Duncan Phyfe or Georgian furniture. Georgian is a period of design in English furniture from 1714 through the early 1800s. It is also a period rich in the terms of new styles and the craftsmen who invented and brought this era of furniture into every household around the world. The Georgian period is broken down into three stages: early Georgian (1714 to 1740); mid Georgian (1760 to 1790); and late Georgian (1790 to early 1800s). Read More +

Furniture Detective: Hardware on vintage beds crucial to its design and function

Beds are of great interest to most people. We spend more time in bed than we do anywhere else, except maybe at work, so where we spend roughly one-third of our lives should be of great interest. In Colonial America, mobility was a key factor in bed design. America has been a nation on the move since before it was a nation, so a bed that could be disassembled, transported by wagon or boat and reassembled was a valuable asset. Read More +