Thoughts on construction grade lumber tables?

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Forum topic by DirtyMike posted 08-18-2016 03:51 AM 777 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View DirtyMike's profile


637 posts in 1748 days

08-18-2016 03:51 AM

Hello Jocks,
Earlier this summer I turned down the opportunity to make simple rustic tables for a thriving furniture store. The designs was super simple and consisted of all construction grade lumber from lowes. Screws showing, not even countersunk, boards mounted crown down, shoddy work in my opinion. I am no hardwood snob but with i knew these tables would twist and bow and cup within months and i turned down the opportunity. since then a mutual friend has been making and selling the same style of tables from dimensional lumber. He has been doing very well and i am happy for him. I have designed A great hardwood farmhouse trestle table that i am about to launch and i know my work will be compared to these other guys. so it has had me thinking.

So my questions:

What do you all think about the high demand for such cheaply made Tables?

Does it hurt the market for quality made tables?

6 replies so far

View a1Jim's profile


118134 posts in 4423 days

#1 posted 08-18-2016 04:10 AM

I’m amazed and saddened by the demand for what I consider junk furniture. I guess it boils down to if you want to make money give the customer what they want, as for me I’ll pass for the same reasons you have,# 1,I don’t want my name on something like that, #2 using construction grade lumber is going to be big trouble and lots of call backs especially with bad joinery. I think your right ,stick with quality.


View DirtyMike's profile


637 posts in 1748 days

#2 posted 08-18-2016 05:33 AM

Thanks Jim, I actually felt a little better about myself as a woodworker turning down the work. But I am concerned that so many people are buying this quality of furniture. Hopefully my tables will bring in fish from another pond.

View Dustin's profile


707 posts in 1586 days

#3 posted 08-18-2016 12:12 PM

I’m sad to say I’m not terribly surprised. With all of the mass-manufactured particle board junk that the department stores sell, it’s no shock that a less informed public assumes that anything made out of “real wood” is of a higher quality. That said, it’s at least a little bit funny that people would spend good money on 2×4 furniture that my friends and I had to make ourselves in college because we didn’t have money!

-- "Ladies, if your husband says he'll get to it, he'll get to it. No need to remind him about it every 6 months."

View HorizontalMike's profile


7893 posts in 3760 days

#4 posted 08-18-2016 12:31 PM

... it s at least a little bit funny that people would spend good money on 2×4 furniture that my friends and I had to make ourselves in college because we didn t have money!
- Dustin

Boy isn’t THAT the truth!

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View finns's profile


169 posts in 3962 days

#5 posted 08-18-2016 09:02 PM

Agreed Mike. Stick to your guns. Good quality marketed well is the key. If you choose the low cost junk market, you’ll be known as the low cost furniture maker. I continue to turn away offers from folks wanting construction grade product. It just doesn’t pay financially and could put my reputation at risk.

View JADobson's profile


1449 posts in 2957 days

#6 posted 08-18-2016 09:17 PM

On the other hand, construction grade lumber can be used to make quality stuff. Here is a reproduction of a Stickley side table that I built entirely from 2×4s from HD. I had to carefully select my lumber and there was a fair amount of waste but hardwood is really expensive up here (I’d be looking at $250 to build this out of oak). I have around $15 dollars lumber in this table. 3 years later its still holding strong.
Click for details
(widget doesn’t seem to be showing the pictures properly but you can see the table in my projects).

This doesn’t take away from the fact that the tables you are referring to sound like they are being slapped together with no real concern for the end product. I’d turn that down too.

-- No craft is very far from the line beyond which is magic. -- Lord Dunsany — Instagram @grailwoodworks

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