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Thread: ya gotta really take a good look at what is out there to appreciate your own work

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    new york city burbs

    ya gotta really take a good look at what is out there to appreciate your own work


    Im not a great skilled woodworker, average at best, but when I look at what people have purchased from a lot of the big stores, it makes me feel like a super craftsman.

    shame on so many of you for undercharging your clients for the work you put out.

    Ill change the names,(you figure it out) but Ill give you some examples of what Ive seen within the past 6 months.

    facy's-went there to purchase a leather chair a while back, and while they were doing the paperwork with my wife, I wandered over to the entertainment units. Tv stands,
    the units were nothing more than particle board with veneered surfaces. Nothing was 3/4 inch thick, the joinery was a joke.
    A lot of the units seemed to be held together with plastic/metal type fasteners, and most of the units were wobbly.
    Two of the units on display already had some joinery breaking through the particle board, Im guessing someone tried to move them, and the unit just folded in on itself.
    Junk. priced 700-1500 depending on size. Real crapola.

    Raymond and Houligans-went to visit someone recently, they purchased a lot of their furniture there, they only wanted to show it off to me as they know I like to build things.
    Their dining room breakfront/buffet, Ive never seen mullions and muntins(is this the correct terminology for the strips on the glass doors?), they were some kind of plastic veneer glued on. Glued on so bad, on one side it was 1/4 inch short, another side more like 3/8 off. Glass was just held in door with plastic type mirror holders, which I could live with, but not the glued on strips. All veneer over particle board.
    Cheaply built, looks ok, but not quality, a step above ikea disposable furniture.
    I was surprised, as I thought this place sells quality.
    A couple of other pieces they had, looked ok, but its easy to see its just dowels and screws and cheap veneers.

    And today, I got to spend 2 hours repairing a bedroom set by Gotham cabinets.
    Most of the slides in the dresser had no screws as the sides are cheap particle board, with an oak veneer on outside.
    The screws just break out the particle board and you cant screw them back in. I had to use other holes and redo all , yes all 14 slides. Not sure how long they will last, particle board only 5/8 thick any tug on the draws will surely break it out again, and then there will be no more screw holes to use.
    I purchased this set before I built furniture.
    I purchased an oak bedroom set.
    The only thing that is oak on the set, is the thin drawer fronts, everything else is pine, and oak particle board veneer.
    The captians style bed, had drawers with doors on them.The 35mm cup hinges on the doors, 2 of them also broke out the particle board they use for the bed base cabinet, so Ill try to redrill new holes and move the hinges.
    I do remember when we purchased it, the veneer color and grain didn't match at all on the base of the bed. It comes in 2 pieces. ONe side the veneer was completely different than the other, not even close, and after we complained, we got something like 50 dollars back. Told the veneers are oak, they cant guarantee color match, or something like that.
    What junk.

    My furniture will be around 3 lifetimes if its wanted. While my finishing techniques are an ongoing learning process, my furniture is 10 times better as far as Im concerned then any of the 3 things I mentioned above from different well known retailers.

    We may be a bunch of garage woodworkers, but our quality cant be reached by these large retailers. Dowel joinery is the way they go, mortise and tenon aren't found unless you step up to the 5000 and above range, and then its iffy.
    Particle board veneers, are simply not made to last.

    Once in a blue moon IM asked for a price to make something, well, now they are going up another 50%, if not, let them go to schlock city and spend 1000 less for particle board that will last 7 years tops.
    Last edited by allen levine; 01-02-2015 at 10:52 PM.
    Human Test Dummy

  2. #2
    You nailed it! Especially, the 7 year thing

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Independence, Kentucky
    Yep, we have a throw away society it seems. I don't think a lot of people have the desire to keep their furniture for future generations. I seems to me that a lot of young people just starting out, move around so much that they want something new each time they move, and the particle board stuff won't tolerate a lot of that moving from place to place. I'm not saying that is true with everyone but there are a LOT that must feel that way. I believe my projects will be around a long time, but probably nobody will want them.
    Last edited by Charles Hans; 01-03-2015 at 12:25 AM.
    I'm supposed to respect my elders, but its getting harder and harder for me to find one now.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    East Freeetown, Massachusetts

    The other side is the Wally world impact on the meaning of value.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Delton, Michigan
    not trying to hyjack, but here is a example of insult added to injury. was asked to make a false frnt drawer frnt 2.75 high and 16" long, and had to match a existing profile that i didnt have so meant two passes or so of different bits then finish to match old color.. i did all of the above, and it was installed in front of me with a brad nailer and his compressor was to low on pressure so he didnt get his brads flush so took a end nipper to pound them down flush.. i did say that it was a good thing i didnt take the time to sand it but when all done the guy asked me how much he owed me.. i told him it was one of those jobs where the time didnt warrant the value..
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Oak Harbor Washington on Whidbey Island
    Well Larry at least you know next time you can bring him a board so he can whittle it out for himself.
    "Forget the flat stuff slap something on the spinny thing and lets go, we're burning daylight" Bart Leetch
    "If it ain't round you may be a knuckle dragger""Turners drag their nuckles too, they just do it at a higher RPM"Bart

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Spitting distance north of Detroit Michigan
    I may not be a professional woodworker, but I take pride in what I build and the fact that I can usually stumble thru repairing things when needed, but particle board & 'I keyed ya' type furniture is not worth the effort to dig out a screw gun to tear into it. I'm also learning that under-pricing to just make a few bucks ain't worth the trouble, I may stay broke but I'm much happier in the long run.
    The perception of perfection is perfectly clear to everyone else

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Wapakoneta, OH
    I have noticed what some call "fine furniture" is quite literally just a pile of burn material. I don't live near the really high end stores, but nothing around my part of the world can be classed as quality. My wife did buy an "Amish-made" pie safe (long story to that purchase, another time maybe). When we got it home I was looking it over and discovered the bottom was a piece of repurposed plywood that had pocket holes cut in it (in the wrong place). For the record, I'll do things like that; but if I sold stuff I'd never do it on those pieces.
    Last edited by fred hargis; 01-03-2015 at 01:05 PM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    No, not all of SoCal is Los Angeles!
    Quote Originally Posted by fred hargis View Post
    For the record, I'll do things like that; but if I sold stuff I'd never do it on those pieces.
    Amen to that. For a recent piece I drilled an extra shelf pin hole on one side in one row. Its for me and will be full of stuff so I'm OK with that. I have made a new part more than once when a lesser boo-boo appeared on a piece that was going out the door. Certainly as craftspeople we are more tuned in to what makes a quality piece of furniture than the average consumer but, a lot of expensive items out there are really junk. I recently breathed a temporary stay of execution into a new mission style chest of drawers. True it only cost about a quarter of what I would charge but, drawer glides shimmed with cardboard? Gaps in joinery that you could slide a toothpick through? Screws falling out of the veneered substrate with only a few cycles of use?

    If it had been $129.95 at Target I may have understood but, it was 10 times that and then some. I fear that if quality manufacturing ever does return to the U.S. it will be out of reach for the general public who will have to continue to pay near quality prices for zero quality imported products . I think that this is, in part, what drives me to design outside my favored styles. It lets me reach a wider audience and hopefully the pieces will be handed down and enjoyed by others. I have to remember that there are folks who don't like the styles I enjoy just as I don't really care for swan-neck or curlicued things .
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    190's so hard to do fine woodworking when things are moving by so fast on that assembly's all Henry Fords fault, he ruined wood working...

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