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  1. #1

    Need Help Identifying Saw Marks on Antique Furniture


    I have an antique cabinet that I am pretty sure dates to the 1880's, due to the presence of what I believe are circular saw marks. This cabinet is interesting because it seems to have some boards that were cut by a circular saw (round marks) and others that were cut by a mill saw (straight marks). The locks are half-mortise (typical in the 19th century) but the keyhole surrounds are what was fashionable in the 1840's to 1850's.

    The drawer pulls are attached by pegs without nails, all nails are square, hand-cut nails and the glass is wavy pressed glass and all original.

    My best guess is that this was made by a craftsman using the materials he had on hand probably in the early 1880's when the circular saw would have been the hot new thing and there were still plenty of parts available using earlier technologies. A transition piece I think, I would like your opinions on this also.

    Here are the pics I have so far, I will add one ASAP showing the straight saw marks. Can someone confirm that these are the marks of a circular saw?

    This is the cabinet:

    Here is the top of the cabinet showing what I believe are circular saw marks, can someone confirm?:

    Here is one of the keyholes, the style of which is typical of 1840-1850:

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Napa Valley, California, USA.
    Yes those do look like circular saw marks. Don't be so sure, though, that this piece is a "transition piece" between the age of circular saws and "earlier technologies." Both circular saws and band saws are in common use in lumber mills today, and plenty of lumber shows signs of both types.


  3. #3
    No worries about that, there are plenty of other indicators of age on this one- The original finish is intact, it has loads of patina that is especially visible when the two halves are disassembled, hand-cut square nails are used throughout, inconsistant size (non-symmetrical features everywhere so it is not mass-manufactured) original wavy pressed glass etc. The saw cuts are just one idicator and they help me date it as later, when some of the other indicators lean towards an earlier style. I suspect the earlier stying was the preference of the craftsman, and he was using materials that were on hand. I only have a few pieces where the saw marks are clearly visible like this and it helps to hear from woodworkers in addition to antique collectors. Many thanks!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Wayne, Pa..
    Just to throw in a little more info. The escutcheon in th keyhole was typical way before the date you mention. It would have been seen in the 18th century.

    Did you ever think that maybe the crumb just wanted to steal our wirecutters?

  5. #5
    Thanks for the info, it looks like whoever made this cabinet had old-fashioned tastes. I love it, it took me years to find just the right one.

  6. #6
    Wow! That's pretty great! I believed we were some kind of paleontologist kind of people here. Even old markings of the saw in a cabinet is still be known. Glad to hear that!

  7. #7
    You found an antique cabinet reminiscent of a glorious time. Elegant, classic and timeless. I wouldn’t mind the circular marks.

  8. #8
    Who cares about the marks? You have a vintage and splendid cabinet! Lucky you.

  9. #9
    The saw marks help to date the cabinet. No worries, I love it!


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