Good evening everyone, I wanted to take a few minutes to talk about quality in furniture. These days it seems as though there is a trend in furniture. There are many, many people who build kitchen/dining room tables. The sad news is that a lot of the folks making these pieces are doing it in a manner that makes for lesser quality furniture. Notice I didn’t say that they were doing it wrong but I think the consumer base needs to know what options are available and what they are spending their hard earned money on. I don’t want to sound like a holier than though furniture builder but I can promise you that not all methods of joinery are equal. Every person has different levels of woodworking experience and different tools in their toolboxes. Please take a minute or two as a consumer to understand the differences. I have been watching a fellow Youtube content creator named Andy Rawls. He is a very accomplished woodworker who has studied along side some of the best in the business. If you read his about page on his website, I think you will agree. As fine furniture builders spend years and years learning and honing our skills it burns a little to see people purchasing lesser quality furniture at the same prices that finely crafted pieces bring. I have included a link to one of Andy’s videos that sums it up nicely. Take a few minutes to watch it and it will definitely open your eyes to what is out there. I have also included a test from Matthias Wandel which came up with the same results. Hope you enjoy these videos.
Here are a few common questions that you may want to ask when shopping for a piece of furniture from a craftsman.
- Ask the craftsman how long they have been in furniture building- Generally speaking it takes many years to hone the skills needed to produce high quality work in a production setting. Some people will build a one off high end piece right out of the gate but it’s kind of unusual.
- Ask about the wood used in the project- This question usually opens up a full on conversation. Make sure you understand what you are getting.
- Ask for references or to see some of their work- I think most respectable furniture builders remember almost every piece they do and who they did it for. I personally have a few clients that will allow my prospective clients to view my pieces.
- In the end if you like the piece buy it but please don’t be blindsided. A quick google search of farmhouse table issues will reveal many stories of table failure. Long story short wood needs to move and with certain types of joinery (primarily pocket hole screws in a table top) wood is not allowed to naturally move. If you see odd looking holes and screws all over the bottom of a table top I would politely shy away or else the table will probably fail eventually. Proper table tops allow for wood movement.
I know I will probably get some not so nice replies to this post but in the end I think consumers deserve to understand the differences.
Thanks for reading and I hope your day is great!
Here is the little side table that I recently made from my customers home renovation scraps. The legs are tapered in the middle and it wasn’t finished to a fine point. It was a fun little project especially considering all the stock was sitting in the basement doomed. I brought it back to life and have given it purpose in being.
When I started on this project it was just a culmination of ideas running through my head. I wanted to keep a simple chair. My lovely bride accuses me of having a chair fetish. If we are walking through antique stores I always stop and inspect every chair to see if it is something that I would be interested in. I love chairs! I have always said that it is perfectly acceptable to have simple chairs sitting around for people to use. I wouldn’t want a simple shaker chair to sit in all the time but if I go to visit someone I don’t expect to have a chair like I have at home for me. Everyone has their chair.. you know the one that has formed itself perfectly to your behind, the one that has character, the one that speaks to you. Personally I have a Morris chair in the basement that is my comfy chair. That is not what I was going for here. I was going for a simple chair that could be used when all the other chairs are spoken for. I wanted something small, comfortable, and lightweight. I have always been fond of shaker furniture for the functionality of their designs. I prefer a squarer look in chairs than the traditional shaker design. There was a second thought in my mind while designing this chair. I have played guitar for years and everyone knows that a stool works well for playing guitar. I wanted a chair that would allow for changing positions and to accommodate a guitar player better than the typical chair. This is why I narrowed the front of the seat. In doing so it also made the chair more comfortable for short folks and tall folks alike. There isn’t a seat to determine where your legs should be. I have observed my sons who like to hang their legs off the sides of a chair, with this one it makes it comfortable to do so.
As I was finishing up the little unique chair I decided to do something different with it. I talked to my bride and the family and we decided to auction the chair off and all proceeds would go to the Wichita Childrens Home. The boys loved the idea of shopping for kids that could use a lift me up. I think these kinds of actions are what will help create character in my sons for the future.
I was very pleased with the outcome of the project even though I know it is funky and different than most chairs. At any rate if you would like to help out the Children’s home you can bid on the chair on our Facebook page. The link is below.
Thanks for reading and I hope you like “Steves silly strung shaker inspired stool seat”..
Bid on the chair by clicking below.
As our morning routine progressed today our youngest son got sick. As the morning progressed I became bored and proceeded to the shop to work on a couple projects. I decided to build a project that my bride wanted to help on. It is a reclaimed welcome sign hand painted by her. It was very nice having her in the shop with me. I guess that is finding the silver lining out of a sick kiddo!
Hope you like it. Thanks for reading!
As I take this adventure I have no idea where it is going. The only thing that I am certain about is that I truly enjoy working with wood. I find wood amazing as it is a natural product that seems to have almost eternal life. While a tree is in full life it is constantly changing, growing, providing shade, fruit, and a place for tire swings. Once a trees life is deemed over this fine medium still has life. It changes according to it’s surroundings and amazingly finds a place in our hearts by being used for building homes, furniture, treasure boxes, or a table that the family sits at to eat dinner. Like humans wood changes with age, it grows character, and as it ages it tells stories of days past.
I’m not sure where we are headed but I hope to keep my woodworking as alive as the wood I enjoy working with. When I get older I promise to tell good stories as well.