• 15
    Sep

Collecting Federal Furniture: A Unique Style that Mirrors American Ideals

If you live in a Federal style home, filling it with Federal furniture just seems like a natural. I myself began collecting Federal era furniture in 1981, shortly after I purchased an 1814 Federal house—a long standing dream of mine. I first chose to appoint my home with period antiques simply because Federal furniture, with […]

Read More
  • 30
    Aug

Rough Stuff No. 2 – Choosing the Right Sandpaper

In any discussion of sandpaper the words “coarse,” “medium” and “fine” always come up. Open any book on finishing or refinishing, or any do-it-yourself home reference book and you will find these terms used as a guide for the grade of paper you should use for a given project. But in the very specific world […]

Read More
  • 24
    Aug

Rough Stuff No. 1 – An Introduction to Sandpaper

Let’s assume that you have already been through the soul-searching exercise about removing patina and destroying the value of an antique by stripping and refinishing it. Fine. Read Fred’s Rough Stuff No. 2 – Choosing the Right Sandpaper. Now on to the real world, since most of us aren’t dealing with antiques when we talk about refinishing […]

Read More
  • 16
    Aug

Don’t Get the Wrong Impression – Confusing Furniture Terms

I recently attended an auction where one of the items in the catalog was a Chippendale style, Colonial Revival mahogany china cabinet. At the preview, it appeared to be a nice piece; not terribly old but in excellent condition with no apparent problems. However, as I inspected the cabinet from a moderate distance I heard […]

Read More
  • 14
    Jul

Determining the Value of Antique Furniture: Using the Five ‘F’ Words

One of the most important determinants of value in an older piece of furniture, naturally, is the “condition,” which is one of the most-frequently heard words in any discussion about antiques. But how do you determine the condition of a piece other than just giving it the once over? You should develop a system for […]

Read More
  • 5
    Jul

Mersman Tables: They’re Everywhere!

Any antique shop that has more than three pieces of Colonial Revival furniture is almost certain to have a Mersman table somewhere in the joint. Why? Because Mersman made millions of them. During the 100-plus-year life of the company, it churned out more than 30 million tables. In the 1920s, the company bragged that one […]

Read More
  • 21
    Jun

The Piano – The Ultimate Functional Art

Furniture is sometimes referred to as “functional art.” In the case of the piano, perhaps it should be called “functional art for art.” After all, the primary purpose of a piano is to produce music, one our most elaborate art forms, but then again, a piano is an imposing piece of furniture whether or not […]

Read More
  • 8
    Jun

Flights of Fancy – Imaginary Furniture Names

A quick reading of selected world history reveals a number of events or artifacts that are identified with a specific time, place or person. Many of these references are historically accurate, such as the Pax Romana (the so-called Roman Peace of the period 27 B.C.-180 A.D.) or the Victorian period of 1837-1901. But other references […]

Read More
  • 31
    May

The Collector’s Minute: The Savonarola Style Chair

This chair is a “Dantesca Chair,” a variation on the “Savonarola” style chair. The style gets its name from Girolamo Savonarola (Sept. 21, 1452 to May 23, 1498), who was a late-15th-century Catholic monk often pictured seated in such a chair. His fame was his crusade against what he called “the Vanities.” His followers collected […]

Read More
  • 24
    May

Sweet Dreams: Henry Boyd Tester Beds Highly Collectible

What do you sleep in? No, I don’t mean your apparel, but what type of bed? If you own a “four-poster” or “tester” bed with a large head and footboard supported by massive wooden posts that almost reach the ceiling, look it over and see it’s stamped “H. Boyd Cin. Ohio.” More often than not […]

Read More