Grumbles from the shop #11: Buy American?

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Blog entry by dennis mitchell posted 04-27-2010 12:15 AM 7273 reads 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 10: Louis L'Amour Part 11 of Grumbles from the shop series Part 12: Politics Religion and Woodworking »

Just got another buy American (insert Local for my foreign buddies) Email from someone I know who just buys the cheapest crap. I figure if half the folks who believe in “Buy American”, bought American, one quarter of the time, and an eighth of the time it was of decent quality, woodworking would pay a good wage and I’d have a real job!

10 comments so far

View hObOmOnk's profile


1381 posts in 5102 days

#1 posted 04-27-2010 01:01 AM

If Americans would make and buy quality then…

-- 温故知新

View Mark A. DeCou's profile

Mark A. DeCou

2009 posts in 5380 days

#2 posted 04-27-2010 01:04 AM

Hang in there buddy. I was mowing this afternoon, and thought, “I haven’t talked with Dennis for awhile, I wonder how he’s doing….?”


-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan -

View Billinmich's profile


253 posts in 4706 days

#3 posted 04-27-2010 05:16 AM

I try to buy American when I can,but sometimes you haven’t a choice,my wife gets made when we’re in the store and I pick something up and say out loud cheap foreign s##t.Then she’ll walk away and pretend she doesn’t know me.

-- Bill in Mich

View Peter Oxley's profile

Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 4849 days

#4 posted 04-27-2010 05:27 AM

I’m with you, Dennis. I think some people believe that “buy American” means where they buy it, instead of where it was made. People complain about lousy quality and then buy replacement items of the same quality because it’s the lowest price.

And I get so mad when I see furniture made out of MDF with kraft paper veneer and a label that says “solid wood”. You can’t compete with that.

-- -- --

View EPJartisan's profile


1123 posts in 4100 days

#5 posted 04-27-2010 07:05 PM

I don’t have a popular opinion on this, but i do believe in being as “green” as one can (which is thankfully avoiding being marginalized as a catch phrase) ... the “Green” and “buy American” seem to overlap a lot, and the problems of both are similar. It is hard to get local resources, when the locals either can’t afford, don’t know how to make, or have no interest in producing local resources.

We are just coming out of three decades of corporation focus.. where we can earn more than we work for.. and given our economic state.. more than they far deserve. Avoiding politics… and heading to psych… a lot of people want to be millionaires. We are so blessed in this country, we can do and be most anything, we have abundant resources. What we need are more people waking up that we can make our local Made in America ideologue a reality again.. just not based on greed and gluttony and laziness. And then there is getting people out there to love what we .. us woodworkers… carvers…artisans… trades people…what we love and respect.. and work hard for.. as quality.

I live in a city, but travel to the country to get resources… so I worry and think a out this a lot.. including using felled city trees and recycled furniture parts. And I thank goodness that we are understanding the damage of plastic i the world… So there’s my bit… sorry for the rant.

-- " 'Truth' is like a beautiful flower, unique to each plant and to the season it blossoms ... 'Fact' is the root and leaf, allowing the plant grow and bloom again."

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 5289 days

#6 posted 04-28-2010 06:41 PM

Yes green and buy American are very much intertwined. China doesn’t have a very good environmental reputation. Not the best at human rights either.

View Roger Clark aka Rex's profile

Roger Clark aka Rex

6940 posts in 4409 days

#7 posted 05-16-2010 07:02 AM

Lots of people in this and foreign countries buy American; businesses, banks, politicians – to name a few.

-- Roger-R, Republic of Texas. "Always look on the Bright Side of Life" - An eyeball to eyeball confrontation with a blind person is as complete waste of Time.

View rdlaurance's profile


380 posts in 4321 days

#8 posted 11-12-2011 10:18 AM

Dennis, as one of your (now) foreign LJ buddies, I agree 100% in the buy local concept and as EPJ so succinctly stated ‘being green’. A case in point here in Sweden…

....with this trivia question…. What is the single most largest export of this nordic country? (answer below). If you answered SAAB cars or the _SAAB Gripen jetfighter… you would be mistaken. ABBA? No they’re pretty much retired and passé. IKEA? ha ha …NOT! That company’s name is almost synonymous for third-world labor. How about our (Sweden’s) beloved Husqvarna lawnmowers? Sadly, they are made in America (where (here) it is considered… ‘quality labor is cheap’). Though I own one of these quality lawn tractors (thank you folks in N.Carolina), I say sadly because if the workers that made them were paid our labor scale the American workers would be doing much better economically. And sadly because those could have been good paying jobs given to Swedish people. And also sadly in that the petrochemicals used in transporting all the products back and forth across the expanse of the globe (in search of the cheapest labor/materials—yielding greater corporate profits) has literally made us all even more reliant on this petrochemical industry to sustain our lives. And now that we are on the down-sloping side of the petroleum ‘bell-curve’, a greater addiction to the commodity is what we (individually) should be trying to curb and break. It only means the ultimate survival of the species. So far the dinosaurs and cockroaches have proven to be a more successful group of all the earths inhabitants. Do we have a chance?

My personal feeling is that now is the time that education systems need to begin teaching these and the next generations where food comes from and how to grow it. Why are there so many millions unemployed with no jobs in sight? Technology’s natural consequences are to save labor (highest expense of production) so inevitably as we progress, jobs of production become even less in demand. Add to that a burgeoning world population and the problem is compounded exponentially. And the bottom line is that all these people still need to eat. If we took a turn back to the pre-industrial revolution, broke up some of the expansive corporate farms and portions of the population returned to and started to ‘work the land’ again with greater techno/biological methods, being paid for what the value of their labors are truly worth, many wrongs in this modern era world would begin to diminish. Sure, reverting back to this may be intwined with a multitude of problems, but are the multi-millions of hungry (and starving) unemployed people not a problem also? There will always be problems…. and solutions come in many guises.

If you guessed that Sweden’s number one export is BANANAS, you would be correct. Go Figure! Gothenberg, Sweden is where all the bananas are received (from the tropics) and most are then sold and transported on to all the other Nordic (3) and Baltic countries (7). Consider this… how ‘green’ is the marketing of green bananas to the top of the world? And the biggest laugh I get in the stores is seeing special ‘ecological’ bananas for sale! Too bad one cannot taste all the petroleum that they are laced with just to get here…. lol

I inevitably walk on by and purchase the locally grown/harvested apples at the roadside stand on my way home, leastwise until my new planted apple trees are producing greater quantities.

Just my thoughts, just saying!

-- Rick, south Sweden

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

12291 posts in 4403 days

#9 posted 11-12-2011 01:18 PM

A few companies seem to be weathering the storm and still produce decent quality tools.
Feel free to add more.

Barr Specialty Tools
Bridge City Tool Works
Incra Precision Tools
Lie Nielsen Toolworks USA
Lumber Jack Tools
Noden Adjust-A-Bench
U.J. Ramelson Co. Inc
Woodpecker Woodworking Precision Tools
Woodworkers Tool Works

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 5289 days

#10 posted 11-12-2011 06:26 PM

Bananas! I’m hoping my new apple trees survive their first winter. Good luck Rick.

Gene, The key work is “few”.

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