I know when my coffee table was born, but I can't find its mother.
August 16, 2010 4:47 PM   Subscribe

Can someone help me identify the manufacturer of this coffee table?

I got this great coffee table at an estate sale a few years back here in Michigan. I am moving to New York City and I won't have room for it, but I really don't want to let it go. Begrudgingly I am trying to sell it but I want to get a good price (or a good reason to keep it).

Here are a few pictures:
Side view.
Top view.
Corner view.
Top view again.

I even have a photo of the tag attached to the furniture.
The tag tells me the table was assembled by number 353 on 10/7/1966 but not the manufacturer or model.

The coffee table is 5'4" long by 20" tall and about 15" wide. I have been searching for hours but I have yet to come up with anything about the manufacturer. The on-line wood identification tools I have come across don't seem to be very helpful either.

Can anyone identify the manufacture, model, or wood type of my beloved coffee table? If you can identify it can you tell me what resources you used to do so? I have a few other things I would like to look up as well as expand my furniture knowledge.
posted by kscottz to Home & Garden (7 answers total)
The top looks like teak, but the pics aren't large / clear / close enough to be sure.
posted by jon1270 at 4:52 PM on August 16, 2010

Response by poster: I may be able to post higher resolution images tonight. These images were scaled for craigslist and I don't have my camera on me. How would one determine if a piece of wood were teak?
posted by kscottz at 6:09 PM on August 16, 2010

You could be looking at teak, or more likely teak veneer which would be much less valuable. I always look at the underside of the table first, that's going to give you the most information about the quality of the joinery and it might tell you if you've got veneer on top. If you think you have veneer you're not going to want to refinish the table because you've got very little depth to play with. What are you seeing on the underside?
posted by gillianr at 7:47 PM on August 16, 2010

Response by poster: So I took a look at the underbelly of the coffee table again. It is not finely finished and it is painted black but I can make out the wood grain and it looks slightly similar. The table is really heavy and if I had to guess it was in the thirty five pound range. If it is a veneer it is on a heavier piece of wood (not pine or poplar). Also on the bottom someone has scratched a dollar sign, this was there when I bought it. Could this be some sort of furniture seller lingo?
posted by kscottz at 8:24 PM on August 16, 2010

Could be a nice piece of elm.
posted by hortense at 10:12 PM on August 16, 2010

If you determine that it's not a veneer and it's all the same wood, you could calculate the density and compare it to a wood density table.
posted by wayland at 10:51 PM on August 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

How would one determine if a piece of wood were teak?

For our purposes, it's mostly a recognize-it-when-you-see-it situation. Photos must be very close and sharp, as we're looking at the structure of the wood, not just the general color patterns. Naked-eye wood identification is imperfect, but it's feasible to make a pretty good guess.

Better photos, particularly of the narrow end of the table, can also easily determine whether it's veneer.

Just to clear up a couple of misconceptions:

*It is absolutely possible to refinish veneered furniture.

*Wood density is not consistent enough within species to make a wood density table all that useful in identifying the wood in a particular piece. Such calculations and measurements could narrow the possibilities, but they won't give you a positive ID.
posted by jon1270 at 4:55 AM on August 18, 2010

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