One of my early mentors in detecting the genuine in furniture once told me that to him patina was just another name for complexion.
The quality of it on old furniture depends on the care a particular piece has had over the years.
With furniture, as with anything else, one person's junk is another another's treasure.
Antique stores are a good place to find furniture to refinish, but expect to pay for these pieces.
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A piece or two of old furniture, acquired by either inheritance or purchase, is frequently the beginning of antique collecting.
If you have a worn old dresser or rickety heirloom chair on your hands, you may be thinking of refinishing it yourself.
Older mass-produced pieces whose origins fall somewhere between 18 are ideal candidates for refinishing.
“If it’s been in the family a while, it’s worth finding out before you do some damage.” To muddy the waters a bit, there are some more recent pieces by prominent makers—for example, from the Art Deco and Arts and Crafts periods (shown in the photo below) — that command high prices and shouldn’t be touched.Even for those who have entered the field by another way, such as glass, silver, china or prints, furniture forms a setting for these accessories that were once part of the early American home.Individual taste is, of course, the prime factor in choosing the type of antique one collects, but in order that the reader may have a sort of yardstick for determining the merits or defects of a particular piece, we shall endeavor on this page to give him some concrete and practical points on judging the antiques in each of these categories.Moreover, there are no cosmetics for new wood that can in any way simulate that soft glow that is one of the distinctive features of furniture made over a century or more ago. American antique furniture with these attributes is not yet so scarce. It's easy to spot an antique by the drawers, because joints weren't machine-cut until about 1860.These should help him to decide whether a chair, table or case piece is in original condition; whether it has been restored and reconditioned within proper limits, or has been so extensively reworked as to be of little value as an antique; and finally, whether it is a deliberate fake or just a copy of an old piece, with no claim to being an antique.