There it was! The Federal period Hepplewhite dressing table of my wife's dreams. We only had about 12, miles, mostly by foot, invested in the search but finally we had found it. It was exactly the right size: 40" wide, 31" high, 20" deep. Color was excellent, the patina warm and glowing. The sale was virtually completed before we cleared the shop's doorway.
Dovetails - A Clue for Dating Antiques
Antique Furniture Joinery | Antique Warehouse
A dovetail joint or simply dovetail is a joinery technique most commonly used in woodworking joinery carpentry , including furniture, cabinets,  log buildings , and traditional timber framing. Noted for its resistance to being pulled apart tensile strength , the dovetail joint is commonly used to join the sides of a drawer to the front. A series of 'pins' cut to extend from the end of one board interlock with a series of 'tails' cut into the end of another board. The pins and tails have a trapezoidal shape. Once glued, a wooden dovetail joint requires no mechanical fasteners.
How To Tell Whether "Antique" Furniture Is Really Antique
The video above provides a great introduction to dating antique furniture and what areas should be examined. Take note of the shape of the screws used to hold the furniture together. Are they tapered and pointed with smooth grooves, or are the ends cut and the slots offset? Any combination of these features can help place the age of the furniture.
Every time I see some new piece of furniture sold for old, I'm reminded of a Lincoln story. Lincoln was summing up a case in which he thought a witness was less than truthful. To recall this to the jury, he asked a riddle.