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How to Identify Antique Wash Basin
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How to Identify Antique Wash Basin

10/24/2011

How to Identify Antique Wash Basin

Prior to the advent of indoor plumbing, a wash basin cabinet was a staple in every bedroom. If you're looking for a true antique cabinet, there are some simple things to watch for in order to distinguish a cabinet's age. With a few antique handbooks and some practice, you'll soon be able to spot an authentic from a reproduction.

1 Prepare before you head out to an antique store by reading books on antique furniture, specifically the sections on washstands.

2 Check for the right style. A true wash basin cabinet will have a towel rack affixed to the back at eye level. It will also have a single drawer that spans the width of the cabinet, and usually two doors underneath.

3 Examine the hardware. This is not always an indication of authenticity, since door pulls are easily changed. If the washstand has doors, look at the hinges to see if they're brass, a metal used in abundance in the 1800s and early 1900s.

4 Check the drawers. A true antique will have the drawer sides affixed to the front of the drawer by a series of dovetails. If the dovetails are uniform and there are five or more, it's not an antique. Look for non-uniform, hand-carved dovetailing, and three or four per side.

5 Determine the wood. Most washstands were utilitarian, and made from oak, sometimes with a marble top. Fancy washstands can be found, made from mahogany or rosewood with raised panels on the doors, but these are more rare. Most were built with some kind of caster on each leg, for portability. Early casters were made of porcelain.

6 Look for power saw blade marks. It takes some practice, but if you can spot a circular saw mark, it's not a true antique.

7 Run your fingernail over the finish in an unobtrusive spot. If you see a line of lighter wood underneath, it's probably an antique. A piece that has been recently finished will not show the line.



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