Watch my videos on my web site. This week: a defense of Ikea

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by Stevinmarin posted 09-06-2013 07:53 PM 6302 reads 0 times favorited 22 comments Add to Favorites Watch

For those of you who watch my videos here every Friday, thank you! Since LumberJocks doesn’t seem to be interested in posting videos any longer, I want to invite all of you to visit my web site, where you can watch new videos every Friday and read more about my projects.

Make sure you never miss a video by subscribing to my channel, the most popular woodworking show on YouTube:

This week’s video: in defense of Ikea!

See you all over there!


-- Entertainment for mere mortal woodworkers.

22 comments so far

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

26062 posts in 4159 days

#1 posted 09-06-2013 08:22 PM

You are right, Steve. They have things at Ikea that are targeted for a price range. But you can build thing just like them in the shop using their design and different materials to your liking.


-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View Earlextech's profile


1163 posts in 3744 days

#2 posted 09-06-2013 08:36 PM

As a snooty, lookin’ down my nose kind of professional custom furniture/cabinetmaker for 30 years, I’d like to explain why we feel that way about Ikea. Yes, I did read and watch your article/video.

The stuff that Ikea sells is fine for many people. I have a couple of crappy things myself, though not from Ikea. Our problem with Ikea, which you don’t seem to understand, is that introducing this type of knock-down furniture into the marketplace lowers peoples expectations about furniture/cabinetry in general. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked to build something cheaper than “Brand X” because that big factory has much more overhead than I do so I must be able to do it cheaper.

People that buy at Ikea now are of the opinion that a quality set of kitchen cabinets can be had for $3500. They don’t understand that might be fine in a $35,000 house, but not so much in a $350,000 house and certainly not a $3.5 million house. But this is what they get used to and then expect. I can’t earn a living building things cheaper than Ikea, nobody can. This is all part of the dumbing down of America.

There are lots of ways of building things and lots of different materials to build out of. The project you showed in this video is fine for a twentysomething, but a 35 yr old with a wife, two kids and these days two jobs cannot take the time to even do that simple a project. By the time they are 45 and moving into the “big house” they just built, if they think that melamine furniture is quality, they will be very dissapointed in a few years when it all falls apart.

It isn’t about snootyness, it’s about earning a living, producing quality work that can’t be bought at a big box store. You don’t need to defend Ikea and then rub our noses in it as if we don’t understand. We do, you don’t, based on your projects you are not earning a living creating wood projects. Do you think you struck a nerve, you did and I’m sure others will let you know also.

-- Sam Hamory - The project is never finished until its "Finished"!

View Stevinmarin's profile


838 posts in 4129 days

#3 posted 09-06-2013 09:05 PM

Wow Sam, I knew I would get a bite from a “fine” woodworker. It’s another reason why the hobby is dying and comes across as elitist. There is no reason to feel threatened by inexpensive furniture. It’s kind of like saying a Big Mac destroys fine dining.

It might be hard for you to imagine, but a lot of people aren’t millionaires. It’s sad to think that woodworking should only cater to the wealthiest. I am an advocate for people to interested in woodworking as a hobby. I want to expand the notion of woodworking to include everyone.

-- Entertainment for mere mortal woodworkers.

View canoe911's profile


55 posts in 3271 days

#4 posted 09-06-2013 09:44 PM

It would seem that Sam needs to find a new job!

I enjoy woodworking whether it is with costly zebra wood or poplar stained to look nice for a customer that can’t afford $35,000 for cabinets. I love to watch your videos Steve, and if it was not for you I would have thought this hobby was out of my league because of money. But I do thank you Sam because of guys like you I have people waiting in line to have things built for a lower cost. But I don’t do it for a living, I do it for the enjoyment of the craft.

View harvey4804's profile


120 posts in 3735 days

#5 posted 09-06-2013 09:59 PM

Steve, I fully agree with everything canoe911 said. Keep up the good work!

-- Ryan, FRMR HMM165 - HMX1 01-10

View redryder's profile


2393 posts in 4155 days

#6 posted 09-06-2013 10:25 PM

Steve, I’ve always thought of you as the Walmart of woodworking.
And ya, I shop at Walmart quite a bit…................

-- mike...............

View lrob's profile


57 posts in 3747 days

#7 posted 09-06-2013 10:45 PM

Steve, I have been very interested in your projects. I don’t always like what you do, but I do like the way you do it. Woodworkers can be artists and craftsman, but they should do there own thing. Woodworking is not an exact science. do what feels right to you. Keep up the good work and thanks for the projects each week. Canoe911 is completely right.


-- Remember the one with the most toys when he dies WINS!

View Roadmaster's profile


10 posts in 2983 days

#8 posted 09-07-2013 12:58 AM

Never let perfect be the enemy of good. If I need fine furniture, I’ll own fine furniture; I can afford it. If basic pieces will fill a need, then basic pieces will be acquired.

You can’t sell a $1000 end table to someone with an Ikea living room, and you can’t put a Billy bookcase in a university law library.

There’s a place for everyone.

-- ./kevin

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 4727 days

#9 posted 09-07-2013 01:19 AM

I think $35,000 for a set of kitchen cabinets is to much.

View 489tad's profile


3993 posts in 4065 days

#10 posted 09-07-2013 02:14 AM

Thanks Steve! I always enjoy your videos.

-- Dan, Naperville IL, I.G.N.

View Ken Reighard's profile

Ken Reighard

24 posts in 2834 days

#11 posted 09-07-2013 02:24 AM

As an owner of no “fine” furniture (and anything I’ve made is the opposite of fine), some people just don’t understand the need for a broad range of prices of items. I found the same kind of attitude when I was researching the replacement of a patio door. There were some who insisted that any door that was less than $4000 was garbage and they would not install it for a customer. I had a budget and tried to get the best value I could for the budget I had. The rest of my money goes to feed my food and shelter addiction.

-- - Ken Reighard

View Nicky's profile


711 posts in 5146 days

#12 posted 09-07-2013 02:59 AM

Steve, love the videos. I have built a few of your projects. I watch because the videos are entertaining. I have picked up some new techniques and project ideas. Thank you for the time you invest in making the videos. I’m enjoying a cup of Joe (decaff) from a WWMM mug. I could have purchased a cheaper mug, it would provide the same functionality, but not the same sentiment. My small way of supporting the things I like and value. I like your notion of “woodworking for everyone” as it may get someone interested in woodworking as a hobby or career.

I don’t think the hobby is dying. We all have a creative side and we will continue to express it. I enjoy viewing the projects here, although not all of them are “home runs.” BTW, I’ve “struck out” a few times on projects myself. Not sure where the baseball analogies are coming from, but whatever.

Sam, I respect your view but disagree with your premise. All things are not equal. Some people like IKEA furniture and Walmart; different strokes for different folks. I see a Picasso and think “what was he smoking?” Yet, big money is spent for his works. I don’t think you’d find a Picasso hanging above an IKEA bed. My point, people who are struggling will make due with what then can afford. If this stuff was not available, they would do without (been there, done that.) By the same token, if a client is indeed asking you to build something cheaper then a mass produced item, then they can do without the service you provide. Concentrate on clients that understand quality, and don’t look back.

The “dumbing down of America” is a Madison avenue term that congers up an image of “everyone else” is getting dumber but me. If used in the collective “we” then whose getting dumber?

Markets are flooded with cheap goods. Its not going away any time soon. Yet, some folks seek out quality. That is your clientele.

-- Nicky

View MitchMan's profile


75 posts in 3403 days

#13 posted 09-07-2013 11:39 AM

In a broader sense, it’s interesting to me that Internet comments that don’t say “Power to the people” get a lot of push back. It’s part of the whole current discussion about “The end of expertise” and “The age of the amateur.”

View Gareth00's profile


21 posts in 3391 days

#14 posted 09-07-2013 01:31 PM

WOW! Imagine going online and publicly showing your disdain and disrespect for every striving, hardworking AMATEUR woodworker AND about a billion global customers of a household name brand, at the same time as being dumb enough to do it under the literal banner of your or your boss’s business!

View nailbanger2's profile


1041 posts in 4197 days

#15 posted 09-07-2013 01:39 PM

Why all the “LJ’s doesn’t want to show videos”, Steve? Am I missing something?

Oh, and it is pretty hilarious having this thread here, saying Yea, that’s right Steve, we want cheap furniture, and at the same time we have this one saying too much money, I can do it cheaper. I’m getting my share of entertainment this morning.

-- Wish I were Norm's Nephew

showing 1 through 15 of 22 comments

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics