Poor Man's Oak Furniture

By mwilcox

Fake Oak

Washstands like this one were sometimes called "Poor Man's Oak", because the Oak wood grain is a faux finish, stencilled on cheaper light colored hardwood such as maple, basswood or birch. If in good condition, the oak graining on them can be very convincing and many people have taken such pieces home from an Auction thinking what they bought was actually solid oak.

Pieces like this were made for the lower end of the market when new and often sold unseen through mail order cataloges of the day. The finishes on them is not restorable, stripping them for refinshing them generally removes both the finish and the printed grain, often leaving a mismatched bland grains of maple, birch or sometimes basswood. Currently there is not much demand for washstands of this type, even examples in good condition are difficult to sell for over $300.00 these days, examples in need of restoration or repair now often go at auction for under $100.00.