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Thread: Made In China - Lets take it apart

  1. #1
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    Default Made In China - Lets take it apart

    Here's a topic everyone is interested in.

    I've done my own little photographic essay for YOU, the forum reader, to made a judgement for yourself as to whether all is substance or just heresay? Is furniture really that bad that comes from China or is it just hoopla for the USA-makers to beat drums about in order to separate you from your hard earned cash?

    Some disclaimers first.

    * I only sell USA-made furniture in my store. Yes, it costs more for two reasons. First of all, we don't expect - or really want - our fellow Americans to work for .75 an hour. Two, American manufacturers have pride in workmanship and use better quality materials. I am biased towards MADE IN THE USA.

    * I do not know the distributor/brand of this piece. The Customer who gave me this told me he paid $ 399 for it.

    * I realize not everyone can afford properly made furniture in their budget. You must decide for yourself what you can comfortably spend and what you expect from a piece.

    Now,onto the fun. First, a little background......

    This piece was given to me to dispose of by a customer who replaced it with a Hancock and Moore piece, the # 088 Drake Bench which he uses at the foot of his King-sized bed to put his socks and shoes on and he might sit there to watch TV for a bit as well. He's a big man, and is probably 6' 1" and 220lb. This made-In-China piece was two-years-old he told me, and he says while it looks OK, it sits terrible and he feels he is going to fall through to the floor when sitting on it.

    Normally, on pieces that don't look too bad I donate to New Hope Housing in Alexandria VA, and I drop them off on the way back to the store. They help homeless people get going again and always need furniture for the homes. This was a candidate for that, as it presents itself pretty well, but I decided it was time to cut up one of these Chinese pieces as an educational endeavor, so this is one they don't get.

    Now, on to the dis-assembly, lets see whats inside.

    First a photo of the H&M piece that replaced it (in the red leather), and the China-made bench as I got it, with the makers tag.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by drcollie; 08-26-2017 at 11:59 PM.
    Duane Collie
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Made In China

    Let's start with the legs, and the piece flipped upside down in the back of my pickup truck. You will see the legs are held on with (2) Phillips screws each. That's the absolutely worst way to attach a leg, there is no structural stability when done like this. A properly attached leg will be integrated into the frame using Mortise and Tenon construction (best) or Doweled and glued (acceptable). These legs are doomed to flex if the piece is sat upon. Notice also in this detail shot, the leg is not made of a single piece of wood but is glued-up horizontally about an inch above the screw holes. Another no-no in the trade. You can see the seam line, and its cracking. Even though this piece is only two years old I would expect the legs to fail in another 18 to 24 months.

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    Duane Collie
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Made In China

    While we have it upside down, let's open up the black dust cover on the bottom and see what's inside. I know we are going to see a plywood & pressboard frame, that's a given. What I was really not prepared for was the poor quality of the webbing and foam. I've seen beach lawn chairs with better webbing than this! While a lot of folks think that poor cushions make a piece sink and sit poorly, in truth its the webbing. The webbing MUST be as tight as a drum skin or it will give and flex. Just like that beach chair, if the webbing is loose, you fall through it. This webbing was made of such poor materials and so loose that I was able to easily slide my hand under it and pull it up while holding the camera. Its no wonder my customer felt like he was 'falling through' the piece. Webbing is one of the most important components of upholstery, its the foundation that everything rests upon, yet most folks don't understand what it does. Unfortunately, you cannot see the webbing when you go to the store to shop, its always covered up but the dust panel.

    The Foam is blown polyurethane. Its very low quality, so poor in fact that you'd find a better grade under the least expensive wall-to-wall carpet. There is no bounce, no resiliency. Frame components are stapled together.

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    Last edited by drcollie; 04-02-2011 at 02:49 PM.
    Duane Collie
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Made In China

    Let's open up an arm. The padding on the arms is not very good. Hey! Look at that, under the inexpensive foam is a piece of cardboard paper to keep the foam from sinking into the area between the plywood slats!....

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    Duane Collie
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  5. #5
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    Default Re: Made In China

    Finally, lets go in from the top and see what kind of spring system there is....huh? I keep cutting with my knife and there IS NO SPRING SYSTEM. How about that? Just more of the cheap foam. In fact, you can see all the way through to the blacktop.

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    Duane Collie
    Straight answers from thirty-six years in the business.
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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Made In China

    I didn't feel the need to take it apart any further, the quality and build was evident. Off to the dumpster it went.

    As a consumer, you have to decide how to spend your money. In this customer's case, he spend $ 400 on a piece that was junk and he replaced in two years, with one that cost more but will last the rest of his life or longer, and look more elegant as well. Its really a question of cost vs. usability/lifespan. No one likes to throw away $ 400, but it can be tempting to buy an inexpensive piece to 'get by' with and hope it doesn't disintegrate quickly. Unfortunately, most do.

    In closing, I would like to thank my customer for asking me to get rid of this piece so I could cut one up, and Omexey Ltd. of the Third Industrial District in China for absolutely confirming what I already knew to be true.
    Last edited by drcollie; 04-02-2011 at 04:03 PM.
    Duane Collie
    Straight answers from thirty-six years in the business.
    My Private Messages are Disabled - Please ask questions here in the forum.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Made In China - Lets take it apart

    Even though this is not furniture-related, this is VERY interesting. A blog on a "Made In China" portable hard drive. If this is for real, then its brilliant in its deception!

    http://blog.gsmarena.com/how-do-you-...ke-them-apart/
    Duane Collie
    Straight answers from thirty-six years in the business.
    My Private Messages are Disabled - Please ask questions here in the forum.

  8. #8
    annaatkins Guest

    Default Re: Made In China - Lets take it apart

    I must say I really enjoyed reading all about your experiment. I tend to fall into these traps but luckily my husband is the more sensible type.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Made In China - Lets take it apart

    bump
    Duane Collie
    Straight answers from thirty-six years in the business.
    My Private Messages are Disabled - Please ask questions here in the forum.

  10. #10
    artielange Guest

    Default Re: Made In China - Lets take it apart

    I've never seen this post before and I'm glad you bumped it. I laughed at the cardboard! Thanks for this photo essay. It's excellent.

    The Drake bench is spectacular. Love the woodwork. What an upgrade for your customer!

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