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The first step in choosing the best oak antique table is to become familiar with the styles of tables available, understanding what is considered antique, and being able to recognize oak from other types of wood. An oak antique table is likely to be fairly expensive, so be sure to determine what your budget is before beginning your search. Keep in mind, too, that some oak antique table offerings will need restoration, which can add to the cost of the table if you choose to have a professional restorer do the job. If you plan on doing it yourself, be sure to research proper techniques to avoid damaging the table.
Oak is known for its hardness, as well as its very attractive and distinct grain. It is a highly sought-after wood for furniture because it resists bug infestations and is more resistant to water damage than other types of wood; because of these qualities, oak tends to last a long time, meaning an oak antique table is likely to be in fairly good shape if it has been cared for. Much oak antique furniture was made when oak was widely available, especially in the United States, and as oak become scarcer, the antique furniture became more sought after. Knowing how to recognize oak is an important step in choosing the best oak antique table, so be sure to note its distinct grain and other characteristics.
Decide what style of table you are looking for when searching for an oak antique table. Drop leaf tables are quite popular, but other styles are available and quite common. Remember that oak tends to be very heavy, so the bigger the table, the more difficult it will be to transport and ultimately move throughout the house. If, for example, you are planning on purchasing an antique dining room table, consider how you will move the table into the house without damaging it.
Consider the construction of the table to be sure it is stable and well constructed. A table that is not sturdy is not necessarily a poor purchase, but keep in mind that restoration costs will be associated with such a table. Examine the table joints, the quality of the carving and craftsmanship, the condition of the wood as well as the finish, and so on. Determine how much work will be necessary to restore the piece, and try to compare the cost to other tables of a similar time period and condition.