Tag Archives: Country

Authentic Antique Pine Furniture: An Antique Buyers Practical Choice


A well used and ancient pine board “cubby.”

By: G. Allen Clark

If you are new to the world of #antique or #EarlyAmerican furniture, choosing the right piece in a store full of antique #furniture can be daunting.  More so, if you are looking for unusual or out of the ordinary antique furniture pieces.  Might I suggest that you start looking for Pine furniture?  Why Pine you ask?  Antique pine pieces are scarce, so when you do find antique pine, you usually will be finding something that fits the bill of #unique and unusual.

There are many kinds of finishes that were applied to pine.  The objective was to enhance the wood grain patterns that were and still are very appealing in antique and early American decorations.  In many cases, that pine cupboard you find can be #refinished in another color quite easily to meet the #decor of any setting.

In general, early #furniture makers used pine to build #bedroom sets, #bookshelves, #cabinets and #dining #tables. Because of this, the use of pine has been coveted, making antique pine furniture scarce.  Consider these tips to help you select the best pieces.

First, a short tutorial about the wood itself.  Wood for furniture is either #softwood or #hardwood.  These descriptions vary on the foliage of the tree, not on the wood’s strength.  Hardwood trees (Oaks, Cherry, Maple, and Ash) drop their foliage’s seasonally.  Trees in softwood category (Pines, Douglas fir, and Cedar) sustain their leaves all throughout the year.  Pines are part of the softwood family and they are grown and utilized all over the world.  The grain patterns in Pines vary with the climate in the region grown.  Wide grain patterns reflect an abundance of moisture, giving to a faster growth and wider grains.  Tight grains are reflective of a slower growth typical to drier climates.

Pine was historically used to build furniture in the #UnitedStates and #England.  When you find Antique furniture made of pine, you will have found furniture that was made for the lower socioeconomic classes of their society.  This was due in large part because when early settlers came over to the new world; pine was plentiful, thus less expensive compared to scarcer hardwoods like oak and walnut.  Scarcity commands higher prices that the wealthy were willing to pay.

Ironically, today pine furniture is embracing a lot of popularity and in fact; antique pine furniture is in high demand.  Even #millennial’s realize that the value of a vintage pine bookshelf or chest-of-drawers, because furniture made today is made from cheaply made pressed wood, falls apart before its return on investment can be realized.

Old world furniture manufacturers preferred the use of pine to hardwoods because of its versatility and easy-to-work-with features.  Usually, pine is light colored and its knots and grains are prominent and desirable.  The more knots and dark grain, the better.  I had two Antique Pine Cabinets in my store at the #WildernessTreasure location.  I barely got the one in the door and set up, when it sold.  I anticipate that the other one (see picture in the following article) will go as quick.

So why consider antique pine furniture over the hardwood variety?  Generally, Pine is less costly than other pieces of wood and easier to maintain.  A full antique chimney cabinet in solid oak or cherry, similar to the solid pine cabinet I just sold, would cost you five times more.  Pine furniture in today’s marketplace however, is also very rustic and perfect for today’s modern country look.

Pine is lighter and easier to move, than modern furniture made from veneer over presswood.  Antique oak or cherry pieces are heavy in comparison to the same piece in pine.  Why is that important?  Ask a millennial who, while wanting value, needs to remain flexible in his or her living location, due to their career choice.

Pine is versatile and fits in with any decor, even ultra-modern.  You can change the look with different finishes such as a clear varnish-finish, or stained, or even a washed paint.  With the trend towards shabby chic, pine is a perfect choice for the #DIY’er trying their hand at this type of furniture painting.

Antique pine furniture will stand out as unique and interesting because of its prominent knots and grain throughout.  This is also a good option since it can harmoniously blend with other wood types, allowing you to mix it with other furnishings in your home.

The quality of antique pine furniture varies widely.  If the piece is designed well, tightly constructed, it will not display any signs of irregularities like missing parts, inconsistent outlines or holes where the knots once were.  If the wood is old enough, they will be scratched and dented.  This is good, because it gives the antique piece the warmth (patina) that is desired in antiques.  Be careful however.  Solid Pine furniture will warp if subjected to constant moisture and humidity.  However, it does well in air-conditioned homes.

Like all solid wood furniture, you must supply some maintenance of your pine furniture.  Wood need to be oiled regularly in drier climates.  As an antique furniture restorer, I use #Howards #Restore-a-finish in Maple/Pine first, and then apply a coating of Howards Feed N Wax over the life of the piece.  You will soon be able to get these products at my Wilderness Treasure location.  (5975 N. Academy #ColoradoSprings, CO. 80918.)  Ask the front desk for Mom & Me Vintage Linens, Lace & Antiques.

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Holding on to an age of quality


(Photo credit: George Eastman House)”][MCCALL'S MAGAZINE, KIDS IN LINEN CLOSET]It makes sense that as owners of a vintage linen and lace shop, we are in love with fine linens. Tight woven linen, some white, some cream, some with hand printed flowers and vines, with vivid red, yellows and green colors in distinctive patterns. Colors just as alive and vibrant today as when they were first produced. You can visualize the artist passing the linen through each color separation, but not always registering the cloth exactly, as would happen if it were in today’s high-speed linen press.

That’s what makes vintage so special; the imperfections afforded a warm hand, versus the cold steel of today’s production methods. Then you have the beautiful Damask linens, each with their subtle but distinctive pattern, that when laid out on a table, along with the matching napkins and fine silver, make dinner with friends a special event.

Oh, did I fail to mention we just picked up a trunk full of vintage linen this weekend? You probably would have guessed it anyway. I have spent my day, literally lying within the folds of history. I have smelled the clean air, the aroma of the slow cooked pot roast and roasted potatoes.  In my mind, I hear the clatter of dishes and dinnerware over the chatter of family- all sitting down to Sunday dinner.

I started thinking, what makes the experience of touching fine linen so special? For that matter, what makes the experience of collecting anything vintage so special? I don’t know the exact answer; it’s different for everyone, but I have my suspicions. The 30’s, 40’s, 50’s are my favorite years and it’s hard to pick any one thing that makes these generations stand out, until you voice all adjectives and realize that you have used “quality” more then once.

The fact that the linens that we hold in our hand are so crisp and wonderfully colored after all these years and hundreds of washings later, are a big part of it. Modern day linens miss this level of quality. Maybe it’s the fact that these were produced when pride and quality of workmanship was in everything. Perhaps that’s what all of us look for when we purchase anything vintage. We are purchasing a chance to get back an era when times were simpler and families were closer and pride in workmanship was paramount. When you pick up a napkin from the 30’s you get the same feeling your grandmother felt and the same feeling your children will feel when they are the recipients of your collection.

Secretly I want to keep every linen napkin I touch; every lace doily I wash, or every tablecloth I fold. I want my daughter to have this quality long after my passing. Then my husband says the magic words that bring me back to why we opened this store. He’ll say, “Do you know that when a customer buys these linens, that their children will probably end up using them in their future?” I pause and think about that and then it strikes me, that this is the guarantee that “quality” gives you. That’s what I live for. By retrieving, preserving and passing on this little bit of cloth, I pass history forward. That makes me smile.

Stop in a pick a piece of this history. Take a look at what American workers did. Some of them (many of them) were your grandmothers and grandfathers, maybe – if you’re older, even your mother and fathers. They did good back then.