How to Identify Duncan Phyfe Table

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How to Identify Duncan Phyfe Table

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In this blog post on how to identify duncan phyfe table, we’ll dive into how to stop squirrels from eating plastic furniture with compassionate solutions that are both effective and humane.

What is Duncan Phyfe’s Table?

Duncan Phyfe was a famous American cabinetmaker who worked during the late 18th century to early 19th century in New York City. His style of furniture is characterized by elegant, delicate designs with intricate details and curved lines. Hailed as one of the finest furniture makers in American history, Duncan Phyfe’s tables have become highly sought after by collectors and antique enthusiasts.

Needed Materials

To properly identify a Duncan Phyfe table, it’s important to have the right materials on hand. Here are some essential items you will need:

A Measuring Tape or Ruler:

This will help you accurately measure the dimensions of the table. Duncan Phyfe tables are known for their precise proportions, so this step is crucial.

A Flashlight:

Since a lot of Duncan Phyfe tables have intricate details and carvings, a flashlight will help you assess these features more closely.

10 Simple Step-by-step Guides on How to Identify Duncan Phyfe Table

Step 1: Look for the Table’s Signature

Most original Duncan Phyfe tables were signed by him, usually on one of the table legs. The signature often includes his name or initials and sometimes even the date. It’s important to note that some forgeries may also have a signature, so be sure to confirm their authenticity with an expert if possible.

Step 2: Check the Table’s Proportions

Use a Measuring Tape

Duncan Phyfe was known for his precise proportions and symmetrical designs. A Duncan Phyfe table will usually have curves on all four sides and the legs should be tapered or fluted. The height of the table should also be around 28 inches. You can use a measuring tape or ruler to confirm these dimensions. But keep in mind that some forgeries may also replicate these features, so it’s important to check for other signs of authenticity.

Step 3: Examine the Table’s Top

The tabletop is where you can find a lot of intricate details and carvings on a Duncan Phyfe table. Look for elaborate designs, such as scrollwork or inlaid patterns. These are all characteristic features of his work. The tabletop should also be made of high-quality wood, such as mahogany or cherry.

Step 4: Check the Table’s Feet

One of the most distinct features of Duncan Phyfe tables is their ornate feet. Look for carved designs such as lion’s paws, eagle claws, or ball-and-claw feet. These details were often used by Duncan Phyfe in his designs and can help you identify his work. If the table has simple, straight legs without any ornate carvings, it’s less likely to be an authentic Duncan Phyfe.

Step 5: Assess the Table’s Legs

As mentioned earlier, Duncan Phyfe tables are known for their tapered or fluted legs. These were often made of solid wood and can be quite sturdy. Check for any intricate carving or detailing on the legs, as this is a good indicator of an authentic Duncan Phyfe table. You can also check the quality of the craftsmanship by examining how smooth and even the legs are.

Step 6: Look for any Label or Stamp

Sometimes, Duncan Phyfe tables may have a label or stamp from the manufacturer. This was more common in mass-produced furniture during his time, but some authentic pieces may also have them.

 Label or Stamp From the Manufacturer

Look for labels with “Duncan Phyfe” or “New York” printed on them. But again, be cautious as some forgeries may also have these labels. However, if the label is in poor condition or doesn’t look original, it’s likely not a genuine Duncan Phyfe table.

Step 7: Check the Table’s Hardware

Duncan Phyfe often used high-quality hardware, such as brass handles and locks, on his tables. Examine these closely for any markings or engravings that may indicate the table is an authentic Duncan Phyfe.

It’s also worth noting that some forgeries may have these features as well, so it’s essential to seek expert advice if possible. If the hardware looks new or out of place, it’s less likely to be an authentic piece.

Step 8: Inspect the Table’s Finish

Duncan Phyfe tables were typically finished with shellac or lacquer, giving them a glossy look. If you notice a rough or matte finish on the table, it’s less likely to be an authentic piece.

However, keep in mind that some tables may have been refinished over time, so it’s not always a reliable factor. This step is just one of many to consider when identifying a Duncan Phyfe table.

Step 9: Compare with Reference Materials

Best Ways to Familiarize Yourself

One of the best ways to familiarize yourself with Duncan Phyfe’s work is by comparing your table with reference materials. Look for books, articles, or online resources that showcase his furniture and study their distinct features. This will help you identify any similarities or differences with your table. If possible, seek expert guidance from antique dealers or appraisers.

Step 10: Seek Expert Advice

If you’re still unsure whether your table is an authentic Duncan Phyfe, it’s always best to seek expert advice. There are many antique dealers and appraisers who specialize in Duncan Phyfe furniture and can help verify its authenticity.

They can also provide valuable insights into the history and value of the table, making it a worthwhile investment.

Following these 10 simple steps on how to identify duncan phyfe table, you should now have a better understanding of how to identify a Duncan Phyfe table. Remember, it takes time and practice to become an expert in antique furniture identification.

But with patience and a keen eye, you can confidently spot an authentic piece of furniture by this renowned craftsman.  So next time you come across a Duncan Phyfe table at an antique store or auction, you’ll know exactly what to look for. Happy hunting!  So next time you come across a Duncan Phyfe table at an antique store or auction, you’ll know exactly what to look for. Happy hunting!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Are All Duncan Phyfe Tables Signed?

A: No, not all Duncan Phyfe tables were signed. However, his signature is a good indicator of an authentic piece. It’s important to note that some forgeries may also have a signature, so be sure to confirm their authenticity with an expert if possible.

Q: Are There Any Reproductions of Duncan Phyfe Tables?

A: Yes, there are reproductions of Duncan Phyfe tables. Some were made during his time, while others were made in more recent years. It’s essential to study the distinct features and characteristics of his work to spot any forgeries or reproductions.

Q: How Can I Tell If My Table is Made by Duncan Phyfe?

A: The best way to tell if your table was made by Duncan Phyfe is by studying its distinct features and comparing it with reference materials. Expert advice can also be sought for confirmation.  Remember, it’s always better to be cautious and seek expert guidance when in doubt.

Q: How Much Is a Duncan Phyfe Table Worth?

A: The value of a Duncan Phyfe table can vary depending on its condition, age, and authenticity. Some may be worth thousands of dollars, while others may not have as high of a value. It’s best to consult with an appraiser for an accurate valuation.

Appraiser for an Accurate Valuation.


To summarize, Duncan Phyfe’s tables are a timeless piece that has withstood the test of time. Whether you inherited one or you are considering purchasing a newly crafted one, it’s important to know the signs that will help you identify when you have found an original piece of craftsmanship. Consider the legs, feet, frame and top of the table if you hope to secure an authentic Duncan Phyfe unit. Many dealers also label pieces on their website so even if you purchase online, you can be more confident knowing what criteria to look for in each product listing.

Buying antique furniture is an art form but with some research and knowledge on how to identify duncan phyfe tables, such as learning how to find a genuine item like a Duncan Phyfe table, you can become more adept at identifying high-quality items. Take the time to learn all the details and familiarize yourself with other classic designs to ensure your purchase is an authentic one that will provide timeless style and beauty for years to come.

Photo of author

Adrian Green

Adrian is a woodworking hobbyist and has loved Woodworking since he was 10 years old. Back then in childhood, his father used to have a furniture shop. He used to help his dad and learned a lot from him about how to fix woodworking furniture, basic carpentry knowledge and also about how to work hard and take care of business. He enjoys woodworking as a hobby. He loves the feeling of creating something with his own hands, and the satisfaction that comes from seeing his finished products used by others.

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