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If you can feel slight, parallel ridges and hollows, the piece was hand planed, probably prior to the mid-19th Century.
Construction techniques can assist you in dating furniture. In the 17th Century, butt and rabbet joints were used.
A mortise latch does not have a locking function and is much smaller and easier to install.
Tip: You can use the latches with skeleton keyhole escutcheons if you like the look but don't need a locking function.
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Scalloped dovetails can be dated to the 1890s and were only used for a short time. You might think it's a modern material, but the Egyptian Pharaohs used laminated wood in furniture and it was used in England in the 1740s. You may not be able to see this with the naked eye, but if you measure a circular table top with the grain and then across the grain, there should be a difference if the table is an antique.Probably the easiest to recognize are the curved marks left by the circular saw, circa 1840. The vertical, crisp, uniform marks left by the band saw are not very deep.Use your fingers on drawer bottoms or backboards of case furniture.Sadly, people frequently search the internet using the keyword "brass" and consequently miss much of the truly fine antique hardware.After you've gone to all that effort of choosing the perfect old hardware please don't ruin it by using phillips head screws!
Machine cut dovetails were made from the middle of the 1800s onward. Three-ply plywood as we know it today was made in 1905. On turned parts of furniture, such as chair legs, use calipers to take measurements to check for shrinkage.