Antique Furniture & Wood Separation: Is My Furniture Antique?

We are often asked how to tell if a piece of antique furniture is truly old, as some of our customers at EuroLux Antiques are new to collecting antique furniture. There is an art and science to appraising the age of a piece of antique furniture that only comes from direct, hands-on experience.

How to Judge Age in Antique Furniture?

However, there are some clues that you can look for to help you determine the age of a piece of furniture. One of those clues to judging the age of antique furniture is wood separation.

Antique Furniture & Wood Separation

Look at Panels & Doors

In the video above, I show you three places to look for wood separation in antique furniture as a way to determine if the piece is truly old. The first place to look is in a flat panel, such as a side panel, or on a door. Look closely and you may find a hairline crack running with the grain. This type of wood separation is caused by the expansion and contraction of the wood due to humidity fluctuations throughout the years.

Look in Drawers

Another place you would expect to find wood separation is at the front of a drawer in antique furniture. You’ll notice a small gap between the frame and the bottom panel of the drawer, which has been caused by wood shrinkage from fluctuations in humidity over time.

Look at the Joints

Finally, you should observe the joints of the piece, where it was originally put together by the craftsman. You would expect to see a small gap at the joints in antique furniture, for instance, on a door where the trim comes together.

While finding examples of wood separation is by no means the only criteria for determining if a piece of furniture is truly an antique, it is one of the clues to look for during your analysis. When there are enough clues, in combination, you’ll be able to determine if a piece is truly antique furniture.

Look for Wood Separation

Wood separation is one of the character marks of antique furniture and something to be appreciated. We all get wrinkles as we age, and wood separation is one of the ways to tell if a piece of furniture is truly an antique.

If you’d like a better definition of what causes wood separation, check out this earlier blog.

Stay tuned to our blog for more videos about other clues for determining age in antique furniture.

 Aimee owns with her best friend, Greg.  Aimee sources amazing antique furniture, vintage lighting, & high-quality reproduction furniture to help her customers decorate their homes in a unique way.  She loves her 8 (you read that right) fuzzy children and is renovating a 1920s bungalow in South Carolina.  Connect with or sign up to receive this blog in your inbox!

5 thoughts on “Antique Furniture & Wood Separation: Is My Furniture Antique?”

  1. Hi Mohamed,
    Thanks for your interest in EuroLux Antiques. Yes, I agree that your antique buffet is of French origin. It is a Henry II style buffet, also known as Renaissance Revival style, and was crafted in walnut around 1900. It is a lovely piece with nice carvings, but unfortunately the original middle piece is missing. There would have been a middle support piece between the top and bottom that usually is about 15 to 16″ high.
    I hope this helps! Best wishes, Aimee at

  2. I was wondering if you could tell me about a buffet table I have. All I know about it is that it has been in my family for a long time and I was wondering if you could help me identify the year it was made and who made it. Here are some pictures I have.
    On the back of the table it has some numbers and initials of some sorts. The initials are WLH and above that are the numbers 920 and that is all I know about it.

  3. Hi Steven,

    In my opinion, your handsome sideboard is American, dates to the 1930s, and is crafted in mahogany. It is a mass-produced piece – not the hand of one particular artist. Without an actual stamp from the manufacturing company on the underside of the piece or in a drawer, there is not a way to identify the manufacturer. You can search for values of similar pieces on

    Hope that helps!
    Best wishes,
    Aimee at


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