Watch Out For Today’s New “Disposable” Furniture!
I just read a very interesting furniture refinishing industry newsletter article about what much of the new, (call it disposable furniture) is made of. Would you believe vegetable fibers like wheat, rye and rice straw or hemp stalks, kenaf stalks or sugar cane residue!
Yes, you read it right…I’m not making it up. For most people, furniture is furniture…it’s either made of wood, steel, aluminum or plastics and most of it will last for generations. Well, the furniture manufacturing industry worried that mass producing durable furniture that lasts for years and years would soon saturate the market and decrease the need for their products. Their solution was to develop a line of disposable, “look like real wood” furniture that would have a 7 to 10 year life and would need to be replaced more often and keep them in business.
This disposable furniture is made from “engineered wood,” meaning that most of the parts are not real wood. That’s where the vegetable fibers and other materials come in. The “binders” or glues that are used are generally water soluble and will quickly deteriorate in short time, especially when exposed to damp conditions. Urethane foam is also used to mold “carved” shapes of assorted furniture parts. This material cannot be repaired easily or refinished ever!
This bit of information just further supports what I always tell all my customers, “buy antique or vintage furniture made prior to 1970.” That’s when quality furniture was manufactured in America from quality materials, by talented craftsmen. Sadly most of those factories disappeared when maunfacturers saw the “bottom line” or profit as the most important part of their business and they outsourced the work to Asia. Even if you have to have this older, well-made furniture repaired or refinished, when it’s re-done you’ll have furniture that is light years better than anything new you could buy for the same amount of money (or a lot more too!).
Stay tuned to my blog for the continuing story of how to spot quality furniture and own it for a lot less than the new “disposable” stuff they are selling to the unsuspecting masses. Oh, and please let me and my readers know of any stories you might have about your experiences with either older, quality furniture or the new “disposable” stuff.
Thanks for checking in!