Furniture Fakery and other cautionary tales

Hey hey Kiddos:


Have you ever fallen in love with a phony? I know I have! I mean it. You are about to spend your precious time reinventing some furniture you found on the side of the road and I want you to make sure you are not about to get your heart broken. Mine has been broken so many times. You know why? Because I didn’t know how many fakers there were in the furniture world. By fakers I mean FAKE WOOD people. From MDF to particle board, to simulated wood made from petroleum, it’s a friggin’ minefield of fakery. It crumbles, it warps, it smells, and it just does not last. 


I decided that before I teach you about furniture painting, and chalk paint, and priming your furniture, and advanced blending techniques, I have to make sure you are not using all these moves on a cheap floozy. 


If I had a dollar for every craigslist seller who promised me that yes, “The dresser is real wood” before I drove across town only to find out that it was anything but, I would have retired by now. These guys were not lying to me. They had no idea. They were duped when they bought it because furniture manufacturers know that real wood is a better material but it’s the most expensive, so they spend billions of dollars a year making chemicals and glue look like wood. Hello IKEA, I’m talking to you. 


I actually love IKEA but I know what to buy and what to run from so, I put together this week’s video to help you know when to LOVE it and when to LEAVE it. 



I also shared another Tanglewood Sue tale full of dive bar shenanigans and riding off with a long-haired motorcycle rider who swept me away with his own brand of fakery. You gotta watch to the end to see how it turned out. 


 Tanglewood Sue teaches you how to tell fake wood furniture from real wood furniture


In summary, there are 4 easy telltales that can help you find a piece of real wood furniture among a sea of fakes:


1. Odor: Yeap, give it the sniff test. Real wood smells like... well, wood! There is no wood-smell-injected furniture out there. So, if it smells like wood, then it is wood. 


 4 way to tell if furniture is made of real wood


2. Weight: Real wood has air within and it is lighter than fake wood which is made with very small particles of wood mixed with glue and then compressed together making them super heavy layers and layers of no good.  Real wood is hefty, but it should not break your back. 


How to tell if furniture is made of real wood 


3. Sign of workmanship: Look at the joints. These are called Dovetail joints, and it shows that someone took the time to make these fit. No mass production here kiddos. 


 How to tell if it is real wood


 4. Purpose and style of the piece: How ornated is the piece? Very? But it is made with a modern lifestyle in mind? Then it is probably not real wood.  The finest example I have is a very ornated TV stand like the one shown below. This is a piece with a lot of detailed work but it is for a modern lifestyle (No TV back then right?). We do not have artisans anymore carving pieces like this for a reasonable price. That tells you right there this is not real wood. 


 How to tell if furniture is made of real wood


Don’t work hard on a project only to have it fall apart, warp, or not be sellable. Let me help you navigate through the world of furniture and share with you my favorite tools so you only invest your time where your efforts will last for years to come.  


Tanglewood Sue yer Crazy Ass Craft Coach
Ph: (415) 595-9839


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