Friday, November 11, 2011


Ok, here is the test....all you have to do is choose which photo(s) is/are of REAL oak. Now, I have made this EASY. The photos are close-ups, and that should be the way you look at things before you believe what you are being told.....CLOSE-UP.







So, are you done yet?

Here are the answerS! 

All except #1 & #2 are real oak...and 3 to 7 are all actually FUMED OAK, also. The real deal.

#2 is FAKE oak....a ink printed grain stamped on to another wood(s). Many times these "fake oak" pieces are actually made of several types of wood, whatever was cheapest/available. Actually, most furniture has at least a couple different woods involved in the construction, but these "fake oak" items sometimes will have a few difference pieces of wood as part of one stripping the "fake oak" stamped-on grain may result in a piece of furniture that will look goofy as heck if you go to stain & varnish it. Sometimes they will turn out ok looking. In these cases, the piece was likely varnished before the fake grain was applied. However, some manunfacturers did not varnish the piece prior to stamping on the grain, so upon stripping the piece you will end up with a ghostly, grey/black inked image of the printed grain, soaked deep into the wood. Get the paint out, because that is now the only way you can make the thing salable.

I see so,me of you are still looking back at some of the pictures, muttering in indignation.
So, if you haven;t figured out the odd color/style of #6 & #7, I will clarify something about those two. Including these two was a bit of a trick on my part. Some eagle eyed pros might have noticed why I included them, but I will still explain for those who are looking stupified.

 They are close-ups of a "grain painted" cupboard I have. The bottom half of the cupboard started out life as a fumed oak piece (a buffet more than likely.) However, a previous owner repurposed it earlier in its life, building a cabinet to sit on top, likely in the 1920s or 30s, to create a kitchen cabinet.  They then grain painted the whole thing to match.

 "Grain painting" is a technique of applying paints/varnish to create a faux woodgrain. It is indeed fumed oak underneath the painted finish, and you can tell that by the one photo where there is wear from handling over 80 years.  This piece is worth more as a complete cabinet, than trying to rescue the buffet portion. It is very country, folky and primitive.

It is one of the few types of "frankenstein" pieces that is actually worth more than the original item. No, no, Igor isn't anywhere around....By "frankenstein" I mean that it is made of more than one piece of furniture, and is not anywhere  near original. It has been heavily modified or "has been screwed with" (a phrase which I personally prefer!)

Now, if you picked #1 as real oak....


Wrong! It is a 1980s era piece of junk, that uses printed paper applied over sawdust where did I put that dunce cap.....

#2 is the FAKE oak. I have heard it called "stamped oak", "painted oak", "printed oak", "grained oak", among others...all basically legitimate terms, but can be deceiving/confusing to the unaware....sort of like Ricardo's Chrysler Cordoba's Soft Corinthian Leather.

Oh, wait, you didn't know?

*sigh*....Ok, for those of you who still are confused....Mr Montalban's car's quality leather is actually VINYL.

And if you don't know who Ricardo Montalban is...well, you are just too young.....hey, wait, what was that????

Hmmm, weird, I must be hearing things....Have banged my head on too many beams in attics....

Now, while the under 25 crowd is confused, and hitting Google and Wikipedia, we'll continue...

Number 5 is sort of a trick one, also.

It is fumed oak VENEER. Real, fumed, oak...but only a thin layer of it.  In this case it is actually been applied to oak boards, but sometimes is applied to other woods.

You should also take a close look at #7. You see, the fuming process only darkens the exposed grain. Goo deep enough (like the wear on this piece), and you have got regular old oak. SO, if you plan on refinishing a a fumed oak piece, do it with CAN sand/scrap away the value! True fumed oak items tend to be worth more than the identical item made of un-fumed oak, so take it easy with that belt sander!!!

So, hope this lesson wasn't too dry for you, but, face it, if you didn't pick out the true oak pieces, you needed to read this!

And, if you picked all the right photos, well, you've won a trip to an beautiful island......

"Da Plane, Boss, Da Plane!"

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