For many consumers the decision to buy used furniture is due to price. Many families are struggling financially and simply cannot afford new furniture, or cannot afford the quality of furniture they would like to have. There are furniture stores today throughout the country peddling low cost furniture, such as Ashley Furniture, but it is of such poor quality and workmanship that it rarely lasts very long. What may seem a low price may in the end cost more when it has to be replaced again and again.
Today the majority of furniture being sold in the USA is mass produced overseas in China, Malaysia, and other countries where labor costs are a small fraction of labor costs here in the US, and with substandard materials or with wood that was illegally harvested from the rainforests of South America. Although furniture is being manufactured by well known American Furniture companies such as Broyhill, Lane, American Drew, Simmons, Lazyboy, Thomasville, Bassett, Pennsylvania House, and others, and they continue to put Made in USA on the labels, most of the manufacturing process is done in third world countries using cheap labor.
NEWS FLASH! It is no longer made here in the USA. They have lobbied lawmakers who have drafted laws stating that as long as one step of the manufacturing process, such as applying a finish, is completed in the USA, these companies are allowed by law to state that their furniture is Made in the USA. This practice has nearly destroyed one of America’s largest manufacturing industries and eliminated thousands of American jobs over the last twenty years. It is deceitful and untruthful to the American consumer.
In the good ole days of the USA furniture was hand-crafted of solid wood by skilled craftsmen. They took pride in their work and the furniture they made lasted for decades and became family heirlooms.
Then with the industrial revolution, machines made it easier and faster to manufacture larger numbers of furniture in a short period of time. Furniture manufacturing became a big part of the American economy and good jobs especially in North Carolina, Virginia, Michigan, New York, and Pennsylvania. Good quality solid wood was still used and assembly practices such as dovetailing drawers was still common practice among good furniture makers. This prevailed from the 1930’s through about 1970. This furniture stood the test of time. Many of this furniture is still around today and in good usable condition.
It is furniture from this period of time that we strive to offer our customers who come to shop here at Dorn’s Used Furniture.
After 1980 furniture making in this country began to change for the worse. Furniture manufacturers were more concerned with making big profits quickly than making good quality furniture or providing good jobs to support the communities they were in. Many furniture makers began to use cheaper particle board or pressed wood instead of solid wood. They began gluing the wood together instead of dovetailing. It was much faster and saved the company lots of money.
Today most furniture made is nothing more than sawdust glued together with a wood finish stain applied, and yet the stores are charging thousands of dollars to consumers for this poor quality furniture. It swells up and warps out of shape when it gets wet, shelves bow if you put any amount of weight on them, and heaven forbid if it starts coming apart and you try to screw it back together. The sawdust just crumbles apart. When you read a furniture ad that says Cherry finish or oak finish this means the furniture just has a Cherry or Oak stain applied to that piece of furniture. It is not solid wood, but merely particle board or sawdust. Cushions on sofas and chairs are filled with cheap poly fill that flattens to nothing like a cheap pillow. They used to be made with very dense foam rubber that did not lose its shape or strength even after least fifty years of use. Sofas and chairs are being upholstered with cheaper dress fabrics instead of true upholstery fabric. It matters because true quality made upholstery fabric was designed for furniture to last for decades. Fabric being used today wears out in less than two years. Even sofas with tags labeled Leather, is not true. It is what was called vinyl in the 1950’s through the 1980’s. Now this man made vinyl that is so much thinner and easy to tear than decades ago, is being called Leather. Believe me when I tell you that true genuine leather is one of the toughest materials around. You cannot tear it or even puncture it very easily the way these new leather sofas rip easily. I make genuine leather bags by hand and I know how just how tough it is. I always have some here at the store to show my customers what real leather is like.
Yet today this low quality furniture is not reflected in the price tag when you walk into some of the furniture stores today. The only way to really get top quality made furniture totally made in the USA is to go to a small family run cabinet shop. There are still a few throughout the US but only a few compared to the thousands that used to thrive in this country in the early 1900’s.
You can own a piece of their legacy by buying good quality used furniture. It was made with style and character. Today’s furniture has no style because that requires a skilled craftsman and lots of tedious labor. There’s no shape today, just straight lines and cuts, square and rectangular. Furniture today is much thinner and lighter weight than furniture from fifty years ago or older. Some people today want things lightweight and plain. If that is what you prefer than by all means buy new. Happy shopping to you whatever your preference may be.