An antique drop leaf table has become hugely popular. The demand for antique drop-leaf has never been greater and is a wonderful addition to any household. The drop-leaf looks smart and is convenient, whether space is an issue or otherwise. Of course, a true antique drop-leaf table will be expensive but can become the ideal focal point of any living or dining room.

So, how can you identify a drop-leaf table?

Identifying an Antique Drop Leaf Table

A drop-leaf is one of the most popular types of tables and is certainly an impressive one too. The drop-leaf table is a workhorse! Really, the drop leaf table is versatile and quite multifunctional because it can double up as a simple dining table or a side or end table. This table does have its uses and is quite popular because of it.

The drop leaf is easy to spot; it can be circular or rectangular in shape and always has two hinges or leaves. When the leaves are up, it can look and function like a normal dining table. When the leaves are folded down, the sections hang and resemble a drop leaf (hence the name) and can be transformed into an end or bedside table. Or, it could quite simply be put away for convenience. These are lovely tables, but also, they can be anything you need them to be. It’s easy to identify the drop-leaf table by their hanging end sections.

The History of the Drop-Leaf

The drop leaf is one of the earliest examples of tables and was first seen in the 16th century. They were inspired by the classic gateleg tables and the drop leaf design is often mirrored from the early examples of the gateleg. However, the drop-leaf table does not fold away the legs but folds the end sections instead. Surprisingly, the drop-leaf table has remained a popular choice throughout the years, even as newer styles appeared.  

Distinguishing an antique drop-leaf table can be done so through its design and periodic style. Drop leaf tables, especially from the 16th and 17th centuries, are incredibly popular. There has been a huge demand for drop-leaf tables and continues even today. 

Why Choose An Antique Drop-Leaf Table?

Drop-leaf is one of the most appealing options to choose from and it’s all because of their versatility and practicality. However, there are many more reasons to choose an antique drop-leaf table. 

  • A Potentially Valuable Investment

Antiques not only look good but are potentially valuable and could be a useful investment for your future. Okay, so investing in an antique is risky if you ever want to resell at a later date, but it has a lot of potential. A drop-leaf can be a good investment as long as you buy at a sensible price and look after it well. It also helps to sell to the right buyer or dealer!

  • The Drop-Leaf Can Be A Focal Point In Your Home

Antique drop tables have a certain style that stands out and that can become a focal point for your home. Drop tables really do look fantastic and you can place them at any room in your home. You can put the drop-leaf in your den or family room and use it as a sofa table or even a side or coffee table. There are lots of uses for the drop tables and can be a wonderful addition to the home.

  • Suitable For Any Home

Drop leaf tables are unique. While they’re similar to a folding table, they offer much more functionality and that’s why you should choose one. Antique drop-leaf tables not only look amazing but are practical too. They work well in any home and any room.

Let’s say you had a small home but liked to host dinner parties. An antique drop-leaf table would make an ideal choice for the home. You set the leaves up, place it in your dining or reception room, and seat your guests around it. Once the party is over, you fold the end sections down and put the drop-leaf table away in the cupboard or behind the sofa (if you’re doubling it up as a sofa table too). It’s also a decorative piece and may get your guests talking too!

Even if you don’t host parties, it can be great to have in case you need more table space at festive times. It can even be used for kids when they need extra table space to paint, draw, and play family board games.

  • Drop-Leaf Tables Are Space Savers

If your home is cramped or has limited floor space, a drop-leaf can be the ideal solution. You can use it as a kitchen table or as a coffee table. If you really don’t have much space to keep the table out all the time, you can store the drop-leaf away once it’s no longer required. It’s a fantastic way to save a lot of space in your home and can make life more convenient for you too.

There are also many types of drop-leaf tables to choose from, including:

  • Dining And Round Tables
  • Coffee Tables
  • Writing Desks
  • Nightstands And Side Tables
  • Pedestal Tables

These are only a select few drop leaf examples but they are the most popular ones seen. Antique drop leaf tables remain popular and are greatly sought after too as their styles and designs appeal.

What to Look For To Determine If Your Table Is an Antique

Whether you’re trying to identify an antique drop leaf table or just trying to determine if the table is a genuine antique, there are a few things you need to look for. Firstly, you’ll know a drop-leaf table when you see one. A drop-leaf is distinguished by its two sloping sides that, when folded down, resemble a drop leaf. Small drop leaf tables make a wonderful addition to many homes and it’s a lot easier to spot an antique than you might believe.

There are several factors that can determine if you have an antique table and identify the specific time period the drop leaves belong to as well. So, let’ explore them in detail.

  1. The Construction of the Drop Leaf Table

Tables crafted before 1860 were mostly made by hand and with some simple carpenters tools. A genuine antique oak drop leaf table should be handmade with handmade hardware. That’s what you have to look for. If the construction of your table is machine-made or the hardware doesn’t match then you know it’s probably not a genuine antique table.

Remember, modern furniture is less likely to be handcrafted and is more likely to be machine-made. So, if the overall construction is exceptional, it’s important to take a very close look at it. Of course, it might be a true antique drop table, but, it might also be a modern table designed (and disguised) as an antique.

  1. The Drop Leaf Table Designs and Joints

You can sometimes tell an antique drop leaf by the type of design it has. There are differences between modern and vintage and you should be able to spot them. However, some drop leaves may be harder to determine than others. For instance, some antique tables (genuine and certified) have a modern overtone with smooth and clean lines. You could be fooled into believing the drop leaves are actually a reproduction. In reality, it’s an antique.

When the designs are modern you have to look at the type of joints used on the table. Dovetail joints are often an indication of an antique; however, joints will vary depending on the era the table was made.

  1. Time Periods

Look back over the years and you’ll see most antique tables have specific styles for that period. If you want to buy a drop-leaf side table, or indeed any antique table, you have to know what time period it comes from. This is one way to determine if you have an antique and how old the piece really is.

So, with a leaf table, look at the style of it and compare it to different periods. If the table looks similar to Queen Anne tables, from 1720, look at its authenticity. Examine the type of leg styles the drop-leaf has and match it to that period. If it is supposed to be from 1720, it’ll have a claw foot leg design. That’s the type of thing that can determine if you have a genuine antique drop leaf table or otherwise. Also, don’t forget to examine the joints used. 

  1. How Heavy Are The Tables?

A dining room can look beautiful with a solid oak wooden table. A leaf table can especially finish the room off nicely and make a statement about you as a person. However, the type of wood used with the drop table may determine whether or not the drop-leaf table is an antique or a reproduction. Remember, drop leaf tables were originally carved from one solid piece of wood and that meant they were heavy. While some modern tables can also be heavy, they aren’t always made from solid wood. There’s a difference and you might be able to spot it by the weight of the table. Nothing is manufactured with machines, including the components.

  1. Research the Table Carefully

Sometimes, determining an antique table is difficult because some are deceptively hidden while others are designed to look like an antique. No matter what type of table you want to buy, even a drop-leaf, you have to do your research. You need to research the specific type of table and its background. Some people go on gut instincts and that’s fine, but it mightn’t be enough to tell you 100% if you have a genuine antique drop leaf table. 

Defining the Age of an Antique Table

You have a beautiful dining table and are convinced it’s from the early 18th century but is the table really a few hundred years old? It can take some serious skill to fully identify the period and, ultimately, the age of a table. Whether you want to age a drop leaf table oak or a sideboard, it takes time to accurately define the age of a table.

Let’s say you want to find out how old your leaf table is; the first step would be to inspect the leaf table for any irregularities. Look at the surface of the table, how smooth is it? Does it have imperfections? Sometimes, an antique drop leaf table (or indeed any vintage table) won’t be as smooth or as perfectly made as what some modern tables are. Across the surface, the table might have marks or indentations and that’s often a sign it has been handmade. The reason why is because most antique drop leaf tables (that are handmade) will have some ‘errors’ across the surface. Most occur because of the tools used during the manufacturing process.

However, while some modern pieces can have irregularities, they are often mass-produced. Antiques, especially from the early 17th and 18th centuries, are few and far between. That means you won’t usually see thousands of the same drop-leaf table in the one store. Drop-leaf tables are very easy to come by, but antiques will have a more rough-around-the-edge finish, so to speak, and that’s something to look for.

Next, the type of materials used on the table may indicate the age, or at least, the period the table has come from. For instance, mahogany tables were mostly made after the 1700s; whereas a walnut dining table was most likely made after that period. However, an oak dining table would have been made before the 1700s. Also, the way the table was made and the type of joints used may help you determine the age of the table.

Love the Drop Leaf

Antique drop-leaf tables are some of the most impressive and sought after pieces available today. Of course, you have to be able to identify the drop leaf table and a genuine antique. Doing so isn’t as difficult or as difficult as it sounds. However, it takes time to learn how to identify a true antique drop-leaf table so it’s essential to know what to look for.