What’s the real truth about furniture quality today?
What furniture manufacturers don’t want you to know…
“Don’t believe everything you’re told and only half of what you see” I’ll bet that that you’ve heard a version of that line before and I can tell you that it applies to buying and caring for furniture too!
Over the 20 plus years of my experience restoring, repairing, finishing and making furniture I have developed an understanding of what quality is and how it can not only save you a lot of money, but also make you a lot of money too!
When you’re shopping to buy new furniture do you really know what to look for? How do you assess the quality of the piece? What’s a dovetail? Is veneer good or bad? How about construction? What’s the difference between plywood and solid wood construction and is solid wood always better?
What about the finish? What is the purpose of a finish on furniture? Is one finish better than another? Can you really “feed” the wood? How do I take care of the finish? What’s a good polish to use? How can I hide the scratches on my dining chairs? How can I remove candle wax from my table? The list goes on and on… These are just a few of the multitude of questions I hear everyday from people just like you.
This blog entry will begin to explore these questions in a series of posts which I’m currently writing and I am making it my mission to help educate everyone who wants to know how to become a smart furniture customer so they can make the smartest decisions when looking at and purchasing furniture. Not a week goes by when I don’t see someone with a recently purchased new piece of furniture that already has some needed repair or finish problem. Not only as a “furniture person” but just as an American consumer, I am sorely disappointed in the quality of the new furniture that is being sold to the unsuspecting public. I can’t say that I blame the consumers for buying these items because they usually look pretty nice in a showroom. But when you understand what quality is and compare it to these inadequately made pieces you can understand my disappointment.
In my opinion one of the main reasons for this decline is the lack of quality American made furniture being made and sold today. Many of the great furniture factories of the mid-20th century have closed and/or they have moved operations overseas to China and Indonesia so they can have a better “bottom line.” And quality has been pushed aside for lower consumer prices and higher profits which translates to cheaper raw materials and construction methods. I see some of the wood used in this furniture isn’t much better than the soft white wood used to make shipping pallets! Now you may think that I am overstating this to be facetious, but I’m not far off in my comparison.
I’m going to step down off my soapbox for now, but I hope you can see that I am passionate about this issue and feel that most consumers are being taken advantage of with misrepresenting sales techniques and lack of information on comparisons between quality and inferior furniture. Remember that “the best consumer is an educated consumer,” and as I’ve said, my mission is to make you a better educated consumer!
Please let me know your thoughts or any experiences you may have when shopping for new furniture and post your comments below.