Be sure to look for labels, stamps, or manufacturing labels that can indicate when and where a part was manufactured. Companies and furniture manufacturers typically include their names, locations, and year of production. This information can be found inside the drawers, on the back of the offices and on the lower edges of the pieces. The wood from which the furniture is made can provide a significant amount of information to distinguish between an antique and a reproduction.
But because the same woods have always been preferred for furniture, workmanship and finish are probably a better indicator of age than the wood itself. Check areas of furniture that are not normally visible, such as the backrest and the inside of the drawers, for secondary wood. In antique furniture, you can often find things like mortise and dowel joints, wooden pegs, hand-cut dovetails and rosehead nails. Antique furniture made with hand brushes, saws and chisels will have slightly irregular surfaces, while the surfaces of more recently manufactured furniture will be smoother.