• 9 Feb
    2016

Making a Federal Case: A Young America Tries to Find its Own Style

One of the most popular and most reproduced styles in America for the last 100 years has been the Federal style of the early 19th century. It is so ubiquitous that it is almost unrecognizable as a separate style and is often just called “traditional” styling. In fact “Federal” is not truly a style unto […]

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  • 25 Jan
    2016

Bold as Brass: Cleaning Your Antique Brass Furniture Hardware

Most traditional furniture hardware is brass or brass looking, but that covers a multitude of sins. Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc and is a nonferrous (no iron or steel) metal. Brass that is 70-percent copper is known as bright brass or high brass and shines up to be bright yellow. A higher […]

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  • 12 Jan
    2016

The Leaf Problem: Where to Put Table Extensions

Extension dining tables were a great invention. Going from slabs of boards laid across trestles to a fixed table that could be expanded at will was a giant step in human gastronomic history. But it also created a number of problems/opportunities for future diners. One of the problems is centered on the very thing that […]

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  • 5 Jan
    2016

Step into My Parlor … and Sit in the Correct Chair

One of the most frequently seen arrangements of seating furniture in an antique shop or at a show is the ubiquitous “parlor set.” It seems to usually consist of a rather poorly constructed small scale love seat and a couple of more-or-less matching chairs, one of them probably a rocker. Not much to look at […]

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  • 15 Dec
    2015

In Christmases Past, Wicker Made the List

In the past, Christmas was a much simpler time, and the emphasis was more on family, church and 
community rather than the monumental gift extravaganza it is today. Then, money was often
 tight and credit cards were a thing of the future, so when gifts were given, they were generally functional items
 rather than throwaway […]

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  • 30 Nov
    2015

Taking care of and maintaining your Mid Century furniture

Taking care of and maintaining your Mid Century furniture

By Bradley Downs

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  • 11 Nov
    2015

Multitasking Furniture: Doing Double Duty in the Colonial Home

Have you ever had one of those “multipurpose” tools or gadgets? You know, the kind that combines several useful ideas into one convenient package? If your experience is like mine, you found that the convenience was overrated and the usefulness less than useful. Like most things designed to do more than one thing, they don’t […]

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  • 3 Nov
    2015

Hand-Carved American Furniture that Never Came Close to a Chisel

In furniture making and design, it always seems preferable that flat, plain panels of unadorned wood be largely avoided wherever possible. There’s a need to decorate blank space. Over the centuries, that need has largely been filled using the talents of people with special skills that few of us ever acquire. These are the carvers—the […]

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  • 15 Oct
    2015

Furniture French: You May Already Speak It

If you like older and antique furniture, you may have already acquired another asset that you didn’t even know about in addition to the antiques. You may have the beginnings of a second or, in some cases, even a third language skill. Most of us are reasonably proficient in English, and some of the fortunate […]

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  • 8 Oct
    2015

Detecting Furniture’s Cheap Tricks & Fake Finishes

Throughout most of the history of wooden furniture, there have been many attempts to disguise the true nature of the wood used. Most attempts are efforts to make a lesser wood appear to be a more expensive, more beautiful or more exotic species. It may be that the desired wood is too expensive for the […]

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