Test the part in a discreet place with denatured alcohol; if the finish dissolves, it's shellac. Testing a finish isn't always possible in a dealer showroom, but if you can, identify the finish before you buy. If the piece is painted, test it with ammonia; very old pieces can be finished with milk paint, which can only be removed with ammonia. If the furniture is very dirty or inlaid with wax, clean it first with a mixture of denatured alcohol, white vinegar and kerosene, in equal parts.
Look at the back of a case and you'll see the back panel, a piece of wood that covers everything. This part of the furniture can't be seen normally, so it won't look as pretty as the rest of the piece. It can be plywood (okay) or MDF or particleboard (not good). A quick inspection of the merchandise in your suitcase will help you determine how it was manufactured and will give you clues about its longevity.
While it's totally fine to buy furniture with some “good” or “good” construction features, make sure it's properly priced. Pleasantly rare emails in which we share the best findings made in the United States & other things that we love. While it's not easy to tell the difference between real and fake wood furniture online, it's quite easy to determine if a piece of furniture is made of fake wood in person. If a laminate is made to look like wood, the printed veins will lack a certain complexity.
A touch of the hand will reveal its synthetic nature. Furniture covered with veneer will be harder to tell apart, but paying attention to the details can help you see the difference. Added to the complexity is the proliferation of imitative builders and craftsmen of modern furniture who do an admirable job of cloning authentic antique furniture, right down to tool marks and date stamps. The result is faux wood furniture that sags under its own weight, resulting in dining tables, desks and bookcases with notable holes in the center.
It's almost impossible to take a quick look at a piece of wooden furniture (also known as cases) and find out if it's of quality or not. So how do you know if a piece is real or fake wooden furniture to make sure you're getting your money's value? Make sure you like the way the grain looks and that you understand the color you'll get in the end. Old wood usually has a much darker finish than freshly milled wood. In general, even mass-produced furniture from before 1960 is stronger and better manufactured than today's cheap furniture.
You don't have to find old value to be a great vintage piece that will provide you with years of service. That's a deliberate choice on the part of many furniture manufacturers, since manufactured wood products are cheaper than solid wood. You may have even been outraged to discover that what looked like wood in the photos was actually plastic with embossed wood veins. In both cases, a surface that has the appearance of solid wood is glued to a less expensive artificial wood product, hiding it from view.
Lacquer has been applied to wooden furniture for centuries, and if the piece you're inspecting claims to have the original finish, you might be able to date the piece quite easily. Later on, you might have thought you were getting a deal on solid wood furniture only to discover that it wasn't really solid when a scratch pierced the surface and revealed frayed fibers underneath. It's not always easy to tell the difference between real and fake wooden furniture on the Internet, and sometimes even in person it can be difficult.